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The Tamaroa are no longer extant as an American Indian tribe. Their descendants may be included among today's Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. The Tamaroa were members of the Illinois, a group of roughly twelve Algonquian-speaking tribes indigenous to areas of present Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, and Arkansas. Although little is known about Tamaroa culture, it was probably similar to that of the Kaskaskia, Peoria, and other Illinois tribes.

Circa 1680 an estimated three thousand Tamaroa lived along the Mississippi River near the mouths of the Illinois and Missouri rivers. They subsequently established themselves near present Cahokia, Illinois. Their village, also called Tamaroa, had approximately 180 lodges in 1682. A Catholic mission founded there in 1699 attracted the Cahokia, another Illinois tribe, who settled among the Tamaroa the following year. The two tribes combined for a total of about ninety dwellings, indicating a significant decline in the Tamaroa population.

The Tamaroa united with the Kaskaskia circa 1703 at the mouth of the Kaskaskia River in Illinois. There, near the French settlement of Kaskaskia, the Tamaroa were ruined by European diseases and liquor and by warfare with the Chickasaw and Shawnee. The surviving Tamaroa were recognized as Kaskaskia by the U.S. government in 1803. As such they joined with the Peoria and moved to present Kansas during the 1830s. There, as members of the Confederated Peoria tribe, they received land in northeast Indian Territory (present Ottawa County, Oklahoma) in 1867. That reservation was allotted to 157 Peoria, including an unknown number of Tamaroa, starting in 1889.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Grant Foreman, The Last Trek of the Indians: An Account of the Removal of the Indians from North of the Ohio River (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1946). Frederick W. Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, Vol. 2 (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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