The history of Illinois’ first capital, Kaskaskia, offers a multilayered story that is essential to the stories of our state and our country. Join us for a video premiere exploring Kaskaskia in all its complexity.
Program Manager for Statewide Engagement Matt Meacham will take viewers on a tour of Kaskaskia’s history from its founding by Kaskaskia Indians and French Jesuits near the confluence of the Kaskaskia and Mississippi rivers in 1703 to the present, encompassing its integration into the newly independent United States in 1778 and designation as Illinois’s territorial capital and first state capital.
The historical narrative will also describe Kaskaskia’s disintegration following the Mississippi River’s erosion-induced change of course in 1881, as well as the formation of latter-day Kaskaskia in the center of the resulting island. Now accessible only by way of Missouri, it persists as one of Illinois’s smallest, yet most historic, municipalities, thanks to its residents’ dedication.
Additionally, the video premiere will discuss the experiences of the Kaskaskia Tribe. Members of that tribe initially comprised the majority of Kaskaskia’s residents and remained integral to the community’s social fabric for much of its history.
Logan Pappenfort, formerly Second Chief of the Peoria Tribe of Indians, now interim director of Dickson Mounds State Museum near Lewistown, will discuss the significance of Kaskaskia in the tribe’s historical memory, as well as the tribe’s current cultural sustainability initiatives. The program will also feature commentary by historians Emily Lyons, Margaret Kimball Brown, and David MacDonald.
Kaskaskia and the Pursuit of a More Perfect Union is made possible in part by a grant from National Endowment for the Humanities A More Perfect Union initiative.