Today marks the first national recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a yearly occasion to honor the resiliency and contributions of Indigenous populations, as well as their inherent sovereignty. On Friday President Joe Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation designating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, lending the most significant boost yet to efforts to refocus the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus toward an appreciation of Native peoples.

For the time being, the day will be observed along with Columbus Day each October 11th. Native Americans have campaigned for years for local and national days in recognition of the country’s indigenous peoples, and I hope we keep seeing their representation and inclusion rise higher and higher. There’s so much that Native Americans can do that they haven’t been given a chance to do on a larger stage.

Native American Tribes In Illinois

Here in Tinley there’s a Pottawattomie Park and in the Roger’s Park neighborhood of Chicago there’s a Potawatomi Park. The most prominent tribes in Illinois were the Illinois, Miami, Winnebago, Fox and Sacs (Sauk), Kickapoo, and Pottawatomie tribes. The Illinois Native Americans were composed of five subdivisions including Kaskaskias, Cahokias, Tamaroas, Peorias, and Metchigamis.

If you want to learn about the dark and inexcusable history of how the tribes were evicted from their land in Illinois, I encourage you to read this 2000 article about how the Miami tribe tried to stake claim to Illinois Land for a cogent history. lesson

And if you’re curious, you can find the exact names of the tribes that inhabited your neighborhood on at a website called Land Acknowledgement: ( simply by entering your zipcode.

There’s just so much history to uncover beyond the names of the parks and places in our country, and I’m glad that the spark is finally starting to finally kindle on a grander scale in the United States.

Someone To Follow: Maritz Garcia

Maritza Garcia, a member of the Choctaw tribe from Mississippi is someone who has been popping up in the news these last few years, for her efforts as an ambassador for the Native American community here in Chicago. I’m eager to see what she does next.

Illinois American Indian Organizations and Resources

New Native Land app (2021)


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