Much of what we know about the Kickapoo Indian Tribe in Illinois comes from an archaeological investigation that took place prior to a road-building project in the 1970s. This copper or brass kettle was one of the artifacts uncovered from the Rhoads village site. Excavations revealed a mix of traditional stone tools, arrow points, pottery, and other objects mixed with items of European origin including glass beads, silver crosses and jewelry, ceremonial smoking pipes, and this kettle.
European influence on Native American culture in Illinois could already be felt by the mid-1700s, years before the 13 original colonies declared independence from Great Britain. The Kickapoo received plenty of mention in historic accounts of early settlers, but those settlers provided few details about their everyday lives. We do know the Kickapoo were under pressure by the influx of European settlers by 1750, when they were pushed from the Great Lakes Region south to live along the Wabash River in southeast Illinois. Within just 40 years, the Kickapoo were under attack again, and they moved to central Illinois where they remained until they ceded their land to the United States in 1819. Many Kickapoo remained in Illinois through 1830, just prior to the Black Hawk War, when all Native Americans were forced to relocate west of the Mississippi River.