Title: Illinois Native Americans: A 9,000 Year Civilization
Genre: Currently #14 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle Short Reads, One hour (33-43 pages), History
Publication Date: February 3, 2018
Source: Amazon Digital Services and Direct Request by publisher
Title and Cover: Illinois Native Americans – Cover denotes non-fiction material (uh oh–are you up for that?)
We were contacted by Tyler of in60Learning with an inquiry regarding reading and reviewing their new concept non-fiction novels in a down and dirty read and learn in a 60 minutes format. On their “title listing” page, they appear to have twenty-four titles, three of which are audio, the balance in Kindle format. The titles run from biographies to histories with titles releasing from the middle of January 2018 through March
Titles include Alexander the Great: Student of Aristotle, Descendant of Heroes (with 19 reviews and 4.5 average stars and apparently contains footnotes) to The Mexican-American War: A Divisive Expansion (with six reviews and 4.4 average stars). The C.E. chose this one as well as Hatshepsut The Pharaoh Queen of Egypt, which will be reviewed tomorrow.
In60Learning introduces themselves thusly:
“Get Smarter in just 60 minutes with in60Learning. Concise and elegantly written non-fiction books and audiobooks help you learn the core subject matter in 20% of the time that it takes to read a typical book. Life is short, so explore a multitude of fascinating historical, biographical, scientific, political, and financial topics in only an hour each.”
Did you know that the Illinois Confederacy of North America is arguably the longest ruling civilization in the world? Surpassing the Romans, Egyptians, Japanese, and Chinese, the Native Americans of this confederacy ruled the Midwest unchallenged for more than 9,000 years. 15,000-20,000 Native peoples from 12 tribes banded together under a common language and maintained peace on the prairie. While their interest in developing relations with European settlers eventually led to their dissolution, the confederacy is still one of the most notable civilizations of all time. To their ancestors, this is a legacy worth preserving, and to everyone else, it is certainly one worth learning about.
Debating which is the longest-lived civilization should include the confederation of twelve tribes which according to tradition existed for 9000 years. The primary distinction is the consistent recording of the history of the cultures.
The fact is that the twelve tribes which comprised the Illinois Confederation shared the same laws, language, and social structure. The Illinois were originally nomadic gatherers and hunters. They began to build homes and communities, agricultural methods and societal norms around 7500 BC. They ruled a sizable area of the Mississippi Valley. When French traders came up the Mississippi River into the area now comprising states on both sides of the valley they found a well established socio-economic federation of twelve tribes.
“I asked them who they were. They replied they were the Illinois, and as a token of peace they offered us their pipes to smoke.” Jacques Marquette 1674
Establishing trade relationships with the French, the Illinois felt they would benefit greatly from the new technologies and would improve their quality of life. The problem was that with the new arrivals and technologies came new diseases and death. From the late 1600’s to the beginning of the 1800’s the tribes had dwindled from twelve strong groups to five weakening groups.
The alliance with the French was peaceful and productive for both societies. The traditional clothing was gradually replaced by the lighter and more colorful fabrics of the French. Prior to the French traders, the Illinois were very prosperous and the idea of a family suffering from starvation or lack of necessities was unheard of. They were hospitable and peaceful and happy to meet the French. The Illinois acceptance of the European and Anglo-American cultures without war or conflict ultimately led to the dissolution of their society.
“Illinois believed that they could communicate and worship a higher divinity through their own spirit guides. Similar to guardian angels!” They sought out their spirit guides and utilized them to establish the role they would become in society. Some such as shamans learned their techniques from other shamans but also from their spirit guides. The spirit guides helped them to learn potions and medical systems. This spirit guide was called a Manitou and was presented to the tribe as a source for their abilities. The Manitou was a symbol that stayed with them through their lifetimes.
The god of the people was Kitchesmanetoa and the French recognized this mono-deity as very similar to the belief in Jehovah. This belief in an individual deity was very similar to the Christianity belief and many of the Illinois converted to Christianity. They would fiercely oppose anyone or group that was warlike or opposed the federation.
We were given our choice from the list by the publisher to download for a read and review. I enjoyed this short history lesson but my reservation was with the lack of authentication of facts, sources, or reference materials. The read was engaging, enlightening, and certainly fast. However, a definitive source or some footnotes would have provided greater validity as it currently appears anonymous and there are no sources for fact-checking. Recommended for all ages looking for a fulfilling history lesson!
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
©2018 C.E. Williams