Today on Indigenous Peoples Day, we recognize the Indigenous people, communities, and movements that continue to fight for sovereignty and self-determination. Historically, the location of present-day Chicago served as a military fort that supported the westward expansion of European settlers. This process of colonization was enabled through Homestead Acts authorized in the 19th century with support from various Presidents, including Abraham Lincoln. Throughout the Midwest, land continues to be used for monoculture agriculture and livestock production that is commodified on the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The wealth created from these actions justifies the existence of police, perpetuates hypersegregation based on race, and leads to surveillance in Black and Brown communities across the city.
Thus, we acknowledge the original caretakers of this land, the Three Fires Confederacy: Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi; and the Myaamia, Inoka, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee. The City of Chicago continues to occupy unceded Indigenous territory that was created from the debris of the 1871 Chicago Fire. This land includes areas east of Michigan Avenue where Millennium Park, Grant Park, and Burnham Park are located. This continued violence must be recognized in order for there to be the repatriation of Indigenous land and life.
We invite you to enhance Indigenous visibility by decolonizing your understanding of U.S. history and learning about Indigenous territories, narratives, and movements.