Indiana Indian Tribes

Indiana’s most influential Indian tribes were the Miami, Wea, and Piankashaw, but the state of Indiana was once home to at least twelve other Indian tribes, including the Chippewa, Delaware, Erie, Seneca, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Shawnee, The Neutrals, Ottawa, Wyandot, Illinois, and Mosopelea.

The earlier Indian occupants of Indiana were largely driven out by the Iroquois, particularly by the western-most of the Iroquois tribes, the Seneca, yet they seem to have had few settlements in the State.


(Federal List Last Updated 5/16)

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, (Michigan and Indiana)

(Not recognized by the Federal Government)



Eel River Tribe Inc. of Indiana. Letter of Intent to Petition 09/13/2006.

Miami Nation of Indians of the State of Indiana, Inc. Letter of Intent to Petition 04/02/1980; Declined to Acknowledge 08/17/1992 57 FR 27312.

Northern Cherokee Tribe of Indiana. Letter of Intent to Petition 7/26/198
Upper Kispoko Band of the Shawnee Nation. Letter of Intent to Petition 04/10/1991; certified letter returned undeliverable 10/30/199

Wea Indian Tribe. Claims re-establishment in 2000

Wea Indian Tribe of Indiana. Claims re-establishment in 2004. Letter of Intent to Petition 11/29/2006


When European explorers entered the region in 1679, only a few hundred Native Americans remained. Most belonged to the Miami tribe.

Native American Indians migrated west into Indiana as European settlers took their lands during the late 1600s. The Shawnee, Miami, Delaware, Mahican, and Potawatomi tribes were just a few of these tribes.

During the 1700’s and 1800’s many other tribes came to Indiana from the East, after losing their lands to white settlers.

These included the Delaware, Mohican, Munsee, and Shawnee. Others, the Huron, Kickapoo, Piankashaw and Potawatomi, came to the region from the Great Lakes area to the north.

The Potawatomi were the last group of Native Americans to enter Indiana and the last to leave. They built villages in the northeastern part of the region in the late 1700’s, but by 1838, few remained.

Many sold their land to the government. Others were driven out by the military.


Prior 10, 000 B.C. – During the Pleistocene period, also known as “THE ICE AGE,” much of Indiana was covered by ice.

10, 000 B.C. – ca. 8000 B.C. – After the Thaw. Prehistoric American Indians may have been in Indiana as long ago as 11,000 B.C.

During the Paleo-Indian era,archaeological evidence includes man-made projectile points. During the Archaic Indian era, archaeological evidence includes the mussel shell mounds in southwestern Indiana.

1000 B.C. – 900 A.D. – Woodland Indian era: Archaeological evidence of cultivation, ceramic pottery, and burial mounds like those at Mounds State Park near Anderson, IN.

900 A.D. – ca. 1650 A.D. – Mississippian Indian era: with Archaeological evidence of extensive cultivation and large permanent community settlements such as found at Angel Mounds State Site near Evansville, IN.

Angel Mounds State Historic Site was a Mississippian Indian town inhabited between 1100 – 1450 A.D. Was this the land of Casqui and Pacaha reportedly described by De Soto in 1539?

In 1541, De Soto and his army are reported to have entered the town of the lord of Casqui (Vincennes). Indiana’s earliest inhabitants were groups of Native Americans known as Mound Builders.

Some of these prehistoric people were hunter-gatherers. Others were sedentary farmers.

The mysterious disappearance of the Amerindians Mound People occurred at the end of the Mississippian Era.The mounds they left behind were constructed as burial sites, temples, platforms for religious structures, and earthen forts.

Sources of records on US Indian tribes Indiana American Indian Boarding Schools


Article Index:

Many tribes left their mark on Indiana

AUTHOR: Excerpt from The Indian Tribes of North America, by John R. Swanton

Indiana’s most influential Indian tribes were the Miami, Wea, and Piankashaw. Yet, there were other tribes that also left their mark in and on the state.