Origin and History
The Kickapoo people are an Algonquian-speaking group of Native Americans. They initially inhabited a region in the western Great Lakes, in northwest Ohio and southern Michigan, between Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.
From 1640, several conflicts with neighbouring tribes gradually forced the Kickapoo people to migrate westwards into southwest Wisconsin. Late in the century, they occupied a territory along the Wabash River in Indiana, with minor settlements on the Upper Iowa River and the Root River in southeast Minnesota. They then established contact with the French, when La Salle explored the Ohio. French trading posts were soon established along the Wabash River. In 1684, the French estimated the population to 2,000 peoples.
Between 1712 and 1715, the Kickapoo people took part in the first Fox War, as allies of the Fox. In 1715, The French, along with their Pottawatomie allies, attacked Kickapoo and Mascouten villages in southern Wisconsin, forcing them to make a separate peace.
By 1724, the Kickapoo people was once more allied with the Fox, Mascouten, Dakota, and Winnebago against the French. By 1728, French diplomacy had managed to reduce the alliance to only three peoples: the Fox, Kickapoo and Mascouten. In 1729, the Kickapoo and the Mascouten abandoned the alliance after an incident where Fox warriors had killed some of their own warriors. These two peoples then sided with the French. Peace was finally signed in 1737.
Between 1732 and 1752, Kickapoo warriors assisted the French in their war against the Chickasaw.
By 1759, the Kickapoo counted some 3,000 peoples.
After 1763, the Kickapoo people migrated in territories along the Illinois River, which they had conquered from the Illinois people.
In 1832, harassed by new settlers, most Kickapoo people migrated to Missouri and later to Kansas and Oklahoma.
Role during the War
In 1757, 17 Kickapoo warriors took part in Montcalm’s expedition against Fort William Henry, and contracted smallpox. That winter, when they returned to their villages, they brought back the disease with them. The epidemic soon spread among North American peoples of the Great Lakes and the Ohio River, which were allied with the French.
We have been unable to find specific characteristics about the dress of this Native American people that would distinguish them from other peoples. If you can suggest sources documenting such characteristics, please do not hesitate to contact us with your suggestions.
Sultzman, Lee: Kickapoo History], retrieved on April 14, 2021
Waldman, Carl: Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes, Revised Edition, pp. 110-111
Wikipedia – Kickapoo people
N.B.: the section Role during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.