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Total population
descendants are part of the Kickapoo today
Regions with significant populations
Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois
Related ethnic groups
Piankashaw and Kickapoo

The Mascouten (also Mascoutin, Mathkoutench, Muscoden, or Musketoon) were a tribe of Algonquian-speaking Native Americans located in the Midwest. They are believed to have dwelt on both sides of the Mississippi River, adjacent to the present-day Wisconsin-Illinois border, after being driven out of Michigan by the Odawa.

They are first mentioned in historic records by French missionaries, who described the people as inhabiting the southern area of present-day Michigan. The missionaries reported the Mascouten as being more populous than all the Neutral Nation, the Huron, and the Iroquois nations, put together.[1] In 1712, the Mascouten united with the Kickapoo and the Fox, after almost being exterminated by the French and the Potawatomi.

The accounts of the Jesuit Relations frequently refer to the Mascouten as the "Fire Nation" or "Nation of Fire".[2][3] One Jesuit writes: "The Fire Nation is erroneously so called, its correct name being Maskoutench, which means “a treeless country,” like that inhabited by these people; but as, by changing a few letters, this Word is made to signify “fire,” therefore the people have come to be called the Fire Nation."[4]

Survivors migrated westward. The Mascouten are last referred to as a band in historic records in 1779, when they were living on the Wabash River (in present-day Indiana) with peoples of the Piankashaw and the Kickapoo. The surviving Mascouten are noted in United States records of 1813 and 1825 as being part of the Kickapoo Prairie Band.

Their name apparently comes from a Fox word meaning "Little Prairie People". Historians do not know what they called themselves (autonym).[5]

The city of Mascoutah, Illinois was named in 1839 after the Mascouten tribe.[6]


  1. ^ "the Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents Volume 27". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  2. ^ Santoro, Nicholas J. (2009-01-01). Atlas of the Indian Tribes of North America and the Clash of Cultures. iUniverse. ISBN 9781440107955. 
  3. ^ Sturtevant, William C. (1978-01-01). Handbook of North American Indians. Government Printing Office. 
  4. ^ "The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents Volume 55". Archived from the original on 2016-03-21. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  5. ^ Lee Sultzman, "Mascouten History", Dickshovel, accessed 5 July 2010
  6. ^ Illinois (1839). Laws of the State of Illinois Enacted by the ... General Assembly at the Extra Session ... Illinois State Journal Company, State Printers. 

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