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The Peoria people are a Native American tribe, which today are represented by the federally recognized Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. Historically, they were part of the Illinois Confederation.


The Peoria are Algonquian people, whose ancestors came from what is now Illinoismarker, Michiganmarker, Missourimarker, and Ohiomarker. They were once part of the Cahokiamarker culture of Moundbuilders. The Peoria were one of the many tribes encountered by the explorers, Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet. French missionaries converted tribal members to Roman Catholicism.

The Peoria migrated south into Missouri Territory after 1763. In 1818, the Treaty of Edwardsville includes the cession of Peoria lands in Illinois. The 1832 Treaty of Lewisville ceded Missourimarker lands in exchange for land in Kansasmarker, near the Osage River. Disease and wars drastically reduced the tribe's numbers, so the members of the Kaskaskia, Peoria, Piankeshaw, and Wea tribes formed a confederacy under the Peoria name. After the Civil War, most of the confederated tribe signed the 1867 Omnibus Treaty, which purchased land from the Quapaw tribe and relocated the majority of the tribe to Indian Territory.

The Dawes Act and Curtis Act of 1898 broke up tribal landholdings and dismantled tribal governments. The tribe reorganized in 1939 under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act.

The US government followed Indian termination policy and dissolved the Peoria tribal government. The tribe lost federal recognition in 1959 but successfully regained it in 1978.


The Peoria spoke a dialect of the Miami-Illinois language. The name 'Peoria' derives from their name for themselves in the Illinois language, peewaareewa (modern pronunciation peewaalia). Originally it meant, "Comes carrying a pack on his back." There are no living speakers of the Peoria language today.

Tribal Government Today

The tribe is based in Miami, Oklahomamarker, and their tribal jurisdictional area is in Ottawa Countymarker. Of the 2810 enrolled tribal members, only 744 live within the state of Oklahoma. John P. Froman is the tribe's elected Chief, currently serving a four-year term. The tribe issues its own vehicle tags and operates its own housing authority. The Peoria Tribes owns Peoria Ridge Golf Course, and two casinos. The estimated annual economic impact of the tribe is $50 million. Tribal businesses, the Peoria Gaming Center, Buffalo Run Casino and Hotel, and Joe's Outback are all located in Miami, Oklahoma.


The city of Peoria, Illinoismarker and the surrounding Peoria Countymarker are named after the tribe which lived in that area. The Peoria War occurred in this area but is named after the town, not the tribe who had already left for Missouri before this conflict occurred. Peoria, Oklahomamarker and Paola, Kansasmarker are also named directly for the tribe. Many other places named Peoria and ships were directly named after the town in Illinois.

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