Midwest Connections

Midwest Connections

Stories of Midwest Migration

Explore the movement of people across the Great Lakes and upper Mississippi regions.

Indigenous people moved across the region's waterways and trade routes for thousands of years before European presence on the continent and for centuries afterward. Forced removal of Indigenous nations from the Midwest directly corresponded to increased European American settlement in the region. The experiences of different tribes, as well as European immigrants and African American migrants, has varied greatly over time into the present day. Meanwhile, war and economic factors brought other groups into, across, and out of the Midwest. Although human migration is hardly unique to the Midwest, the humanistic endeavor of telling peoples’ stories about their movement presents a valuable way to begin to understand the region.

This digital exhibit highlights representative stories of both the forced and the voluntary migration that have continually transformed the Midwest, centered around historical material shared by cultural organizations across the Midwest. Learn more about the collaborative creation of this digital exhibition.

Navigate the site map below to explore interconnected stories of Midwest migration.



We acknowledge that the Midwest is home of Indigenous peoples past and present. The Newberry Library is situated on the ancestral lands of the Illinois Confederacy, Kickapoo, Miami and Potawatomi peoples. We honor and thank Indigenous communities as our partners on the land of what is currently the city of Chicago.

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