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The Chicago History Museum is situated on ancestral homelands of the Potawatomi people, who cared for the land until forced out by non-Native settlers. The Ojibwe, Odawa, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Miami, Mascouten, Sac and Fox, Kickapoo, Ho-Chunk, Menomonee, and tribes whose names have been lost as a result of genocide also lived, gathered, and traded in this region. Today, Chicago is home to the largest urban Indigenous population in the Midwest, and they continue to honor this land and its waterways, practice traditions, and celebrate their heritage.

The Chicago History Museum acknowledges the contributions of Indigenous communities and commits to an ongoing collaboration to share a complex and inclusive history.

 

Ga dnezéthêk shodë kik (The ones who lived here on this land)

Bodéwadmikik shode ėthë ték i “Chicago History Museum.” Bodéwadmik shodë gi dnezwêk mine wgi kowabdanawa odë kė. Winwa gézhé gi Wthebawék, Wdawék, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Wémamithêk, Mshkodeniyêk, Zagiyêk, Mskwakiyêk, Winbyégoyêk, Mnomniyêk, Gigaboyêk, minė gé Gété Neshnabék shodë gi byé mawt heshnowêk minė gi dnezwêk. Mégwa shë manék neshnabék dnezwêk shode Zhegagoynak, minė mégwa shna neshnabé bmadzëwêk. Ngëkénmamen Neshnabék ėshtthëgéwat shode Chicago History Museum, mine gé nwi withmiktthéwimdëmen ėwi débwéyathmoyak.

Land acknowledgment translated by Bmejwen / Kyle Malott, Pokagon Band Potawatomi

See the literal translation (provided by Bmejwen / Kyle Malott)

The Chicago History Museum is situated on ancestral homelands of the Potawatomi people, who cared for the land until forced out by non-Native settlers.

Bodéwadmikik shode ėthë ték i ‘Chicago History Museum.’ Bodéwadmik shodë gi dnezwêk mine wgi kowabdanawa odë kė.

Literal translation: This is Potawatomi land here where the Chicago History Museum is located. The Potawatomi lived here and watched over this land.

The Ojibwe, Odawa, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Miami, Mascouten, Sac and Fox, Ho-Chunk, Menomonee, Kickapoo, and tribes whose names have been lost as a result of genocide also lived, gathered, and traded in this region.

Winwa gézhé gi Wthebawék, Wdawék, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Wémamithêk, Mshkodéniyêk, Zagiyêk, Mskwakiyêk, Winbyégoyêk, Mnomniyêk, Gigaboyêk, minė gé Gété Neshnabék shodë gi byé mawtheshnowêk minė gi dnezwêk.

Literal translation: Them, too, the Ojibwe, Odawa, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Miami, Mascouten, Sauk, Fox, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Kickapoo, and ancient Indigenous people, they also came to gather and live here.

Today, Chicago is home to a large urban Indigenous population, and they continue to honor this land and its waterways, practice traditions, and celebrate their heritage.

Mégwa shë manék neshnabék dnezwêk shode Zhegagoynak, minė mégwa shna neshnabé bmadzëwêk.

Literal Translation: Still today a large population of indigenous people live here in Chicago, and they still practice their cultural ways.

The Chicago History Museum acknowledges the contributions of Indigenous communities and commits to an ongoing collaboration to share a complex and inclusive history.

Ngëkénmamen Neshnabék ėshtthëgéwat shode Chicago History Museum, mine gé nwi withmiktthéwimdëmen ėwi débwéyathmoyak.

Literal Translation: We know the contributions that Indigenous peoples make here at the Chicago History Museum, and we will work together so that true history will be told.

Reconocimiento de las Tierras

El Chicago History Museum está ubicado en los terrenos ancestrales del pueblo Potawatomi. Ellos habitaban y cuidaban de estos terrenos hasta que fueron expulsados por los pobladores Europeos. Existen varias naciones que han mantenido una historia más larga con esta región por medios del comercio, migración y residencia: los Odawa, Ojibwe, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Miami, Sac y Fox, Kickapoo, Ho-Chunk y Menominee. Hay varios otros pueblos que pertenecen a esta lista, sin embargo, debido al genocidio y el etnocidio como resultado del colonialismo europeo y la expansión de los Estados Unidos, se ha perdido información crucial sobre esta gente Nativa. Actualmente, Chicago es el hogar para una numerosa poblacion indigena que ontinúa la tradición de honrar a esta tierra con sus ríos y celebrar su patrimonio cultural.

El Chicago History Museum reconoce las contribuciones de las comunidades indígenas y está comprometido a seguir colaborando con estas comunidades para compartir su historia compleja e inclusiva.


What are CHM’s commitments?

Over the last two years, CHM has hosted or attended a series of meetings with Indigenous community consultants, artists, researchers, and scholars to help set the museum on a better path for appropriate inclusion of Indigenous history in museum experiences and ongoing collaboration. The Museum realizes and acknowledges that there have been harms of misrepresentation and omission of Indigenous communities within museum exhibitions and programs. Through discussions with community members, the museum understands the need to initiate some key first steps before we begin a more in depth and long-term collaboration with Indigenous communities. Identified first steps include:

Museum-wide
  • Development of land acknowledgment in concert with Indigenous consultants
  • Board of Trustees approval of land acknowledgment and bringing Native representation to the Board of Trustees
  • Placement of land acknowledgment in written form on the Jaffee History Trail, inside the Museum (lobby, Chicago Rooms, McCormick Theater, Crossroads), and on the website (with option for feedback from the public on the website)
  • Use of land acknowledgment in presentations and programs
  • Development of education series and training for CHM staff and volunteers about Indigenous history and present-day Chicago, as well as use of the land acknowledgment
In Collections and Research and Access
  • Development of library research guide around accessing Native materials in CHM’s research collection
  • Alteration of subject headings in catalogues and information in metadata to eliminate harmful terminology, inaccurate categorizations, and other issues (ongoing)
  • Indigenous pamphlets critical cataloguing project, which includes assessment of approximately 80 pamphlets in the collection to re-catalogue with community input (ongoing)
  • Collection assessment project to identify critical items, including those of Indigenous heritage, in need of further community review and input on status, description, care, and use (ongoing)
In Exhibitions
  • Inclusion of Indigenous history and Potawatomi language throughout the Jaffee History Trail, the Museum’s first significant change to the land in 35 years.
  • Posting signage identifying the harms of misrepresentation and omission present in some exhibitions at CHM, with opportunity for visitor feedback
  • Development of long-term plan and community engagement for revisioning permanent exhibitions such as Crossroads to include collaborative and representative Indigenous history
In Education Programs
  • Review and audit of programs with Indigenous history (ongoing)

As we move through this process, the Museum deeply appreciates and acknowledges the emotional labor and commitment of those who have engaged with us. We commit to an ongoing, reparative approach moving forward.


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