Naperville, Ill. – State Rep. Janet Yang Rohr, D-Naperville, is taking National Native American Heritage Month as an opportunity to celebrate the vibrant and diverse cultures of Native Americans.
“The land now known as Illinois was once home to several Native American tribes and many Native Americans still call Illinois home,” said Yang Rohr. “As the first Illinoisans, these people have played an instrumental role in Illinois’ history and successes. November is the perfect time to honor their contributions and acknowledge their unique struggles historically and in the present.”
The state of Illinois was named after the Illiniwek people, a confederation of 12 tribes who inhabited a large area of the central Mississippi River valley. The Illiniwek played an integral role in the French fur trade, which made up the bulk of Illinois’ economy at the time. The Illiniwek and other tribes that inhabited Illinois were forcibly removed from their land and relocated to present-day Oklahoma in the late 1800s.
“Though Illinois does not have any federally recognized Native American tribes, our state continually enjoys the legacy left by Illinois’ Native Americans,” said Yang Rohr. “I urge everyone to educate themselves on Native American cultures and history, as well as the ways Native Americans have conquered the challenges and adversity they face.”