Many histories apply the label “sub-tribe” to groups like the Atchakangouen, Kilatika, Mengkonkia, Pepikokia, Piankeshaw, and Wea. Each of these names are, for the most part, Miami-Illinois speaking village groups. Each of these villages operated as its own largely independent community. They all shared the same language; stories; ecological patterns and behaviors (culture); and the same or very similar landscapes. Most of these village groups literally descend from each other like family. As a village grew too large to support itself, a group would split off and form a new village downstream. These related villages could come together in times of war and to negotiate the group peace required to end a conflict.
What Europeans called “Nations” and later “Tribes” and or “Confederations” were originally groupings of villages that shared common traits. These groupings could work together and achieve goals, but for the most part they lacked any firm hierarchical political structure.