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Challenges, Choices, and Change:

The land we call McLean County is the ancestral land of many Native groups, beginning with the Paleoindians 12,000 years ago, and most recently Algonquin-speaking groups, including the Kickapoo, who were forced west from this area in the 1830s. Other groups in this area include (but are not limited to) the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascouten, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Lenape, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations. These lands were and are the traditional territory of these Native Nations prior to their forced removal; and these lands continue to carry the stories of these Nations and their struggles for survival and identity.

This statement was drafted in collaboration with Lester Randall, Tribal Chairman of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, and Nichole Boyd, Director of the Native American House at UIUC.

Since the time that people first occupied McLean County, conflict has been part of its history.

Discrimination, inequality, and denial of rights caused tension that sometimes resulted in violence among residents, especially as the population and diversity of the community grew.

The power to control the outcomes of these conflicts was most often held by the majority. But sometimes who had the power changed.

Explore the stories presented here to learn about major and minor conflicts that have shaped the social fabric of McLean County.

Learn about opposing points of view held by local citizens and decide for yourself who had the power.

Who had the power?

  • Was it the majority?

  • What opportunities, if any, did minority groups have to affect change?

  • What happened when the minority decided to make a stand, defy the norms, or take matters into their own hands?

  • Who in our community wielded the greatest power over time and why?

  • Which words shown below the stories would you use to describe what happened?