History & Culture

Human beings and human culture have been part of the landscape which is now the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie for a long time.


The cultural history of the Midewin site prior to its designation as a national tallgrass prairie in 1996 can be divided into three broad periods of time. Each of these periods have left their mark on the Midewin landscape and will affect aspects of Midewin's restoration.


Before Euro-American settlement (before c. 1850)

After Euro-American settlement (c. 1850-1940)

The Joliet Army Ammunition Plant (1940-1996)



Where did Midewin's name come from?

Midewin (pronounced mi-DAY-win) is the name of the Grand Medicine Society of the Anishinaabeg, which includes the Potawatomi (Bodéwadmik) people who were historic residents of this part of Illinois. As a society of healers and leaders, the Midewin keep the greater Anishinaabe society in balance. These indigenous values are reflected in the current use of the name and represent healing the natural world and providing balance to our urban, technology-filled lives. More

Bunker Graffiti Research at Midewin

The "bunkerglyphs" researched and documented by volunteers provide a window 60 years into the past on the former Joliet Arsenal.