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The Native Americans

by Elizabeth Glenn and Stewart Rafert

Native American ancestors inhabited the land of Indiana from around 9500 B.C. European contact with Indiana’s Miami, Wea, Mascouten and Shawnee tribes began in 1679. However, Indians were forced onto western reservations in the 1830s.

By 1850, only a portion of the Miami remained in Indiana. Many natives either assimilated into white culture or hid their identity. This scenario changed when American Indians served in the military and at home during World War II. Afterward, Indians from many lineages flocked to Indiana. Along with Indiana’s Miami and Potawatomi, they are creating a diverse Indian culture that enriches the lives of all Hoosiers and is documented in this second volume of the Peopling Indiana series.

Elizabeth Glenn is professor emerita of the Ball State University Anthropology Department. An adjunct professor of history at the University of Delaware, Stewart Rafert authored the 1996 book The Miami Indians of Indiana. Glenn and Rafert coauthored the chapter “Native Americans” in Peopling Indiana: The Ethnic Experience.

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