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The Moingwena no longer exist as an American Indian tribe. Their descendants may be included among today's Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. The Moingwena were a small tribe of the Illinois, a group of about twelve Midwestern Algonquian-speaking tribes who shared a similar culture. Father Jacques Marquette found the Moingwena residing on the west bank of the Mississippi River in June 1673, near the mouth of the Des Moines River in present Lee County, Iowa. Their tribal designation was derived from Moingoana, the French term for their village. The Des Moines River was named for the tribe, whose French nickname was les Moines.

The Moingwena were neighbors and allies of the Peoria, another of the Illinois tribes. Soon after Marquette's visit the Peoria moved east across the Mississippi and established themselves along the Illinois River near present Peoria, Illinois. Threatened by the Osage and other enemies, the Moingwena settled among the Peoria circa 1700. They were subsequently assimilated by the Peoria and no longer identified as a tribe.

The Peoria joined with the Kaskaskia in 1832 and accepted a reservation on the Osage River in present Osage County, Kansas. In 1854 the Peoria and Kaskaskia united with the Piankashaw and Wea and formed the Confederated Peoria tribe, which was assigned a seventy-two thousand-acre reserve in northeastern Indian Territory (present Ottawa County, Oklahoma) in 1867. That land was allotted to 153 tribal members, including an indeterminate number of Moingwena, between 1887-93.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Joseph Bauxar, "History of the Illinois Area," in Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 15, Northeast, ed. Bruce G. Trigger (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978). Charles Callender, "Illinois," in Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 15, Northeast, ed. Bruce G. Trigger (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978). Frederick W. Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Vol. 1 (1907; reprint, New York: Pageant Books, 1960). Muriel H. Wright, A Guide to the Indian Tribes of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1951).

Jon D. May

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