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Native People

in Chicago Today

"Today, Native Americans continue to play a central role in the social fabric of the city. On any given day in Chicago, tens of thousands of Native Americans representing over 100 tribes move about their daily lives in the city -- attending Chicago Public Schools, working in organizations across the city, organizing community gardens, developing new art installations and walking museums, and gathering with friends and family. They are a core part of our schools, our civic institutions, our community groups, and our businesses. While not among the largest racial/ethnic groups in the city, they are an important part of our social fabric. And yet, Native Americans in the United States are too often understood solely as located in the distant past, not through the lens of their contributions but through the lens of their subjugation. While deep and forthright engagement with the

long history of genocide, dispossession, and structural racism against Native Americans is critical to understanding the challenges they face currently, that is only part of the story. We also must recognize the manner in which Native Americans have found a way to persist, live life, make meaning, struggle, survive, and create. We must acknowledge the role they play today as thriving members and contributors to our communities."

Excerpt from Adversity and Resiliency for Chicago’s First: The State of Racial Justice for American Indian Chicagoans (2019). Available at:

Other Resources about Native People in Chicago

"We’re Still Here: Chicago’s Native American 

The Chicago American Indian Community, 1893-1988, Annotated Bibliography and Guide to Sources in Chicago by David R. M. Beck

City Indian: Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893-1934 by David R. M. Beck and Rosalyn R. LaPier

Indians of the Chicago Area 
edited by Terry Straus

"Without Native Americans, Would We Have Chicago As We Know It?"

A History of American Indians of the Chicago Metropolitan Region and the Western Great Lakes by Frances Hagemann

Community Self-Determination: American Indian Education in Chicago, 1952-2006 by John J. Laukaitis

Native Chicago 
edited by Terry Straus

Indigenous Tour of Northwestern

Indian Metropolis: Native Americans in Chicago, 1945-1975 by James B. LaGrand

"From Prairie to the City: Transformation of Chicago's 
American Indian Community" by Janusz Mucha

“Sitting Bull’s Log Cabin and Settler Commons in Chicago,” by Andrea Carlson and Rozalinda Borcilă

Settler Colonial City Project

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