Indigenous Peoples' Day Art Submissions

Indigenous Peoples' Day Campaign

The American Indian Center (AIC) has created the Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IPD) page for the grassroots campaign for the City of Chicago to take legislative action and pass an ordinance to recognize the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Design Submissions

The AIC is requesting community participation with a call for design submissions for marketing the AIC IPD campaign to educate the community and fundraise the project. The design will need to be versatile for use in various print and digital mediums and dimensions, such as flyers, banners, signs, stickers, shirts, and social media.

The development and growth of the IPD campaign are contingent on the hard work and dedication of donated community collaborations. The AIC acknowledges each person’s time, energy, and resources committed to this project, and compensation will be non-monetary.

Design Concept

The marketing materials should follow similar to a typical political campaign, whereas the message is concise, legible, and recognizable.

The primary message is “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” and “Chicago.” Examples of supporting language are phrases of “I support … in Chicago” or “We demand … in Chicago.”

Design Guidelines & Mockups

The vector-based design must be versatile for landscape, portrait, square, and video dimensions. Please provide mockups of the design in the following print formats: 3″x4″, 11″x17″, 12″x18″, and 18″x24″, and for the following digital formats: 1080x1080px, 900x1600px, and 1920x1080px.

If the submission is approved, the designer will be required to provide the original vector art file along with the color codes and typeset(s) used. The AIC will discuss, at that time, the non-monetary compensation in detail and the possibilities of future considerations and opportunities.

Submission Deadline

The deadline for submission is Friday, March 13, 2020. Submit your artwork to Frankie Pedersen, Communications & Campaigns Coordinator:

Why Indigenous Peoples' Day?

Indigenous Peoples' Day Art Submissions


The erasure of targeted communities who have contributed to the development of modern-day Chicago (and so-called Americas) is an ongoing dehumanizing process that perpetuates disproportionate acts of violence against said communities. The master narrative of the United States contrives a false sense of unity within a country who’s documented history constructs a pattern of racism and violence that has always fallen short of united.

For over 500 years, the Native Peoples across the Western Hemisphere’s Indigenous identities have been perpetually erased from the political and cultural landscape and the collective imaginations of Americans. This is due to the ongoing structural violence created by the ideology of American Exceptionalism, which lays the foundation of our current settler-colonial society.

As the American Indian Center, we recognize the celebration of holidays such as Columbus Day erases contemporary Native voices, stories, and issues across our society and especially here in Chicago. If we as a city are dedicated to the advancement of justice, equity, and social impact, we must focus on changing the way that Americans and institutions think about and engage with Native communities. We must work together to change the narratives that are embedded in the erasure, appropriation, and replacement of Native Peoples from our homelands and within the larger context of the Americas. Supported by empirical evidence, we know that the lack of representation of Native people in mainstream society creates and perpetuates harmful stereotypes and misunderstandings that Americans have toward Native communities.

Throughout our society, the erasure and false narratives of Native peoples are incorporated in the narratives of pop culture (Chicago Blackhawks), media (Dances With Wolves) and K-12 education (Little House on the Prairie) which have served to reinforce and normalize many myths such as the “Disappearing Indian,” “The Noble Savage,” “The Mystical Indian” among others. Native sports mascots, Halloween costumes, and inaccurate historical representations of Native peoples in television make up the foundation of American views on Native Peoples. Dr. Adrienne Keene, Brown University, has noted, “Native Americans are only given choices of stereotypes and misrepresentation, or utter invisibility.”

Moreover, the narratives that erase Native People create a society in which Native Peoples in Chicago (and across the Western Hemisphere) are invisible, creating a more modern form of racism against Native people. The invisibility of Native Peoples goes unnoticed by the majority of Americans who cling on to limited representation of Native Peoples. This representation often reinforces myths and stereotypes fueled by ignorance, misinformation, and bias perpetuated by the Master Narrative of the United States. These false narratives allow, in part, for the nationalization and indoctrination of citizens to claim the American identity. Therefore, any conversation of racial equity must acknowledge and work toward combating the false history Americans continue to be fed.

Less than a decade after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in 1977, the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas started the movement of abolishing Columbus Day and to push to replace it with a celebration to be known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. At the heart of this movement is the need for a narrative change in order to fight against the invisibility, bias, and racism that impacts Indigenous communities. To understand the plight of modern Native people we must stop erasing the uncomfortable history of trauma and persecution carried out upon Native communities and celebrate the truths of our resilience and strength. Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an essential part of any movement toward a more equitable and justice-based future. Abolishing Columbus Day in Chicago and the celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the true history of the Western Hemisphere, which aims to unify people across cultural identities to celebrate our resiliency from colonial violence as we all strive for a better future.


WHEREAS, Indigenous Nations have lived upon this land and across the Western Hemisphere since time immemorial and that the City of Chicago recognizes that the original inhabitants of the area, now known as Chicago, is the Council of the Three Fires: Ojibwe, Potawatomi and Odawa along with over a dozen additional tribal nations; and

WHEREAS, despite the near decimation of the Indigenous Peoples here in Chicago due to European migration our city continues to be a site of gathering, trade, and ceremony for descendants from tribal nations that span across the Americas; and

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago has a responsibility to oppose the ongoing systematic racism towards Indigenous Peoples residing in the United States and recognizes the historic discrimination and violence inflicted upon Indigenous Peoples ofthe Western Hemisphere, including their forced removal from ancestral lands, and the deliberate and systematic destruction of their communities and culture; and

WHEREAS, in the late 1970’s, a movement began to replace the Columbus Day holiday with a celebration knowrn as Indigenous Peoples Day to recognize and commemorate the contribution of Indigenous Peoples to the United States and to condemn the atrocities that were committed against them. Many cities and states have since chosen to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day on the same date as, and in lieu of, Columbus Day; and

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago recognizes the Celebration of Columbus Day perpetuates violence against the Indigenous Peoples and other marginalized communities through the promotion of American Exceptionalism, which continues to be grounded in the ideologies of white supremacy; and

WHEREAS, the Indigenous Populations of modern day Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad, Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as, the Bahamas, Cuba, Venezuela and Central America have never recuperated from the invasion, extraction and exploitation caused by Christopher Columbus’ four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain that laid the blue print for force removal, assimilation, genocide and slavery throughout American history; and

WHEREAS, establishing a Day to recognize the contributions of and diversity within Indigenous populations ofthe Western Hemisphere is appropriate and necessary to ensure these histories are not forgotten; and

WHEREAS, the abolishment of Columbus Day promotes a more equitable and inclusive city for all Chicagoans

SECTION 1. The recites above are hereby incorporated by reference.

SECTION 2. Chapter 1-8 ofthe Municipal Code is hereby amended by adding the language underscore below:

(Omitted text is unaffected by this ordinance)

1-8-110 Commemoration of City founder

In conjunction with annual celebrations of its date of incorporation, the City of Chicago shall commemorate and promote public awareness of the life and accomplishments of its founder, Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable.

1-8-120 Commemoration of Indigenous Peoples

The Second Monday in October, the Citv of Chicago shall celebrate Indigenous People’s Day to commemorate

and promote public awareness of the diversity, accomplishments and contributions of Indigenous Peoples. SECTION 3. This ordinance shall be effective upon passage and approval.

Letter of Support Template

City Council
City Hall- Room 300
ATTN: Committee on Health and Human Relations
121 N. Lasalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602

RE: Indigenous People’s Day

Dear Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer,

Within the last ten years, states, cities, organizations, and institutions are taking steps to portray a more accurate picture of history and are changing the holiday currently known as Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. Today, Christopher Columbus is touted as a hero and the discoverer of America, thereby eliminating the voice and perspective of Indigenous Peoples throughout the Western Hemisphere, including but not limited to over 570 Federally Recognized Tribal Nations within the United States.

When discussing Columbus, it should be noted that this so-called hero was an invader upon Indigenous lands and caused irreparable damage through the extraction, exploitation and unimaginable acts of physical, mental and sexual abuse he and his men inflicted upon the original habitants of what would become to be known as the New World. In order for us to have an equitable future for all Chicagoans, we must reevaluate how we view, talk, teach, and think about history. We must openly recognize that Christopher Columbus’ four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain laid the blueprint for forced removal, assimilation, genocide, and slavery throughout American history.

Despite the atrocities committed by colonizers, Indigenous communities are still here and thriving. In Illinois alone, the American Indian population is over 65,000, and we are home to the sixth-largest Urban Indian population in the country. Additionally, there is a large Puerto Rican community within Chicago that has been growing for the past 70 years, who continue to fight back against colonial forces such as urban redevelopment. By continuing to commemorate Columbus as a hero, we undermine the rich history and diversity that created modern-day Chicago. This historic change is for all people whose indigeneity has been forcibly attacked through settler-colonial violence, forced removal, and government sanctions.

As of today, seven states and dozens of cities have made the name change in order to bring a better understanding of history and to honor the first people of the land. It is essential that all Chicagoans understand the true history of this city, including the fact that our “founder” Jean Baptiste Point du Sable was married to Kitihawa, a Potowatomi tribal member. It is time that the city of Chicago abolishes Columbus Day and takes appropriate action to develop processes of reconciliation, starting with acknowledging the second Monday in October each year as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

I stand in support of the ordinance submitted by Rossana Rodriguez of the 33rd Ward and Co-Sponsored by Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa of the 35th Ward who is working in partnership with the American Indian Center of Chicago to demand that the city’s leadership also see the importance of this historic ordinance and take action.


[Insert Your Name]

Re-Thinking Columbus Day

Columbus never set foot on the Mainlands of the United States, and we must stop perpetuating the myth of “discovery.” This mythology erases the original inhabitants of Turtle Island or so-called North America. Additionally, there is ample evidence of European explorers such as Leif Erickson and his fellow Vikings landing in Newfoundland/Labrador around five centuries earlier.

Christopher Columbus initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Columbus’s Native American slave trade morphed into the African slave trade by the mid-16th century. Furthermore, referencing the United States as a nation of immigrants erases not only Indigenous Peoples but the history of chattel slavery and economic exploitation.

Columbus believed that he was playing a part in a divine plan to Christianize the world. As part of this plan, Spaniards aimed to convert native peoples to Christianity. The end result was forced colonization, mass genocide and the extermination of tens of millions of Native inhabitants across the diverse Nations of the Western Hemisphere.

Columbus’s men used native girls as young as nine or ten as their sex slaves. (Columbus never denounced these actions)

“While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful woman, whom the Lord Admiral [Columbus] gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked — as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears.”

In the year 1500, Columbus wrote:
“A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”

Columbus Day was a solution to finding a Catholic role model for Americans to celebrate while assimilating European immigrants into white America. President Franklin Roosevelt created Columbus Day in 1937 largely as a result of intense lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, an influential Catholic fraternal organization.

Anti-Columbus Campaign

This effort is not an anti-Italian campaign, and rather it is an anti- Columbus campaign. Some will attempt to position this movement as anti-Italian; however, that is not the case the purpose of the movement is to end the celebration of a man who is responsible for the perpetuation of genocide and chattel slavery across the Western hemisphere.

In particular, many people have been exposed to the propaganda created and distributed by the Italic Institute of America whose rhetoric undermines the lived experience of the Indigenous Peoples who were massacred, tortured and enslaved at the hands of Columbus and erases the impacts of chattel slavery as “African immigration”.

The lack of historical empathy for any other group of people (outside of Christian European Men) continues to reinforce the ideologies of Manifest Destiny. The concept of Manifest Destiny is embedded in the belief that the expansion of the United States was a divinely ordained, justifiable, and inevitable,
and has been used to rationalize the removal of American Indians from their native homelands.

While some may argue that Manifest Destiny should not be mentioned as a reason to denounce the celebration of Columbus Day, it is crucial to understand it’s seeds were sown from the fundamental beliefs of the Doctrine of Discovery. As a direct result of Columbus’ voyages and accounts thereof, Pope Nicholas V issued a Papal Bull (1452) – a decree that declared war against all non-Christians throughout the world and also approved and encouraged the conquest, colonization, and exploitation of non-Christian nations and their territories. It was also decreed that Christians had the right to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the Saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ,” to “put them into perpetual slavery,” and “to take all their possessions and property.”

Christopher Columbus’ voyages may have intended to be another capitalist venture to find new trading routes, but the impact and legacy are that of invasion and unspeakable acts of violence.

The rhetoric we encounter in the context of the Doctrine of Discovery and Manifest Destiny, though dismaying, helps us to understand better the racial politics that established our current settler colonial government of the United States.


Action and accountability start with inquiry.

Below are some resources that can help navigate the Indigenous Peoples Day Movement.


Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years Readings and lessons for grades 5 to 12 about the impact and legacy of the arrival of Columbus in the Americas. g.columbus.1991.pdf

“All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans. Deconstructs persistent myths about American Indians rooted in fear and prejudice—an astute and lively primer of European-Indian relations.

Christopher Columbus and the Conquest of Paradise Very detailed, with extensive quotes from far-ranging original sources. Links Columbus’s legacy to environmental degradation.

Columbus: His Enterprise A biography that gives a true account of Columbus’ life and voyages. An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States Four hundred years of Native American history from a bottom-up perspective. (Also An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States: For Young People- middle grades and young adult readers)

A People’s History of the United States: A groundbreaking work on U.S. history. This book details the lives and facts rarely included in textbooks—an indispensable teacher and student resource.

Puerto Rico: What Everyone Needs to Know: An authoritative introduction to the Island’s rich history, culture, politics, and economy Rouse, Irving

Indian Nations of Wisconsin & Seventh Generation Earth Ethics Native Voices of Wisconsin by Patty Loew (Because the State of Illinois has no Sovereign Native Nations we look toward the work of Wisconsin Tribal Nations and Academic Patty Loew to better understand Sovereignty)

Find more books on Native Americans:

Scholarly Articles

Tuck, E., & Yang, K. W. (2012). Decolonization is not a
metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, education & society, 1(1).

Aviles, A., & Davila, E. (2019). Un réquiem para la lucha Afro-Boricua: Honoring Moments of Decolonization and Resistance to White Supremacy in Academia. Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education, 18 (1). Retrieved from

Hooghiemstra, H., Olijhoek, T., Hoogland, M., Prins, M., van Geel, B., Donders, T., … Hofman, C. (2018). Columbus’ environmental impact in the New World: Land use change in the Yaque River valley, Dominican Republic. The Holocene, 28(11), 1818–1835. ChicagoansReport.pdf


Find Your Ward and Alderman

City of Chicago, Office of the Mayor

The Office of the Mayor site provides information for Chicago Wards and Aldermen.

Find a Ward and Alderman by Street Address
A list of all 50 Wards with links to each Ward site
Maps for all 50 Wards (.pdf, 20.7MB)

Ordinance Status

City of Chicago, Office of the City Clerk

Follow the legislation of Ordinance 02019-6976 at the Office of the City Clerks’ online Legislative Information Center. Download the Legislative Text (.pdf, 197 kb).

Indigenous Peoples' Day in the United States

The AIC has complied a list of states, cities, counties, and universities that have chosen to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Some of the places do not observe the holiday at all or partake in alternate observances.


Alaska: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2017
Hawaii: Observes Discoverers’ Day, 2017
Iowa: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2018
Louisiana: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2019
Maine: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2019
Michigan: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2019
New Mexico: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2019
North Carolina: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2018
South Dakota: Observes Native American Day, 1990
Oregon: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2017
Vermont: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2019
Wisconsin: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2019
Washington, D.C.: Observes Indigenous Peoples’ Day, 2019

Cities & Counties

Flagstaff, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona

Berkeley, California
Burbank, California
Long Beach, California
Santa Cruz, California
San Fernando, California
San Luis Obispo, California
Watsonville, California

Boulder, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Durango, Colorado

South Fulton, Georgia

Moscow, Idaho

Evanston, Illinois
Oak Park, Illinois

Davenport, Iowa

Lawrence, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas

Amherst, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Northampton, Massachusetts
Somerville, Massachusetts

Alpena, Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
East Lansing, Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan
Ypsilanti, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Grand Rapids, Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota

Bozeman, Montana

Lincoln, Nebraska

Durham, New Hampshire

Newstead, New York
Ithaca, New York

Carrboro, North Carolina
Asheville, North Carolina

Columbus, Ohio
Cincinnati , Ohio
Oberlin, Ohio

Anadarko, Oklahoma
El Reno, Oklahoma
Lawton, Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Nashville, Tennessee

Austin, Texas
Bexar County, Texas
Dallas, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Charlottesville, Virginia

Olympia, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Bainbridge Island, Washington

Alexandria, Virginia
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Madison, Wisconsin


Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Social Media Graphics

Feel free to download and share the Indigenous Peoples’ Day social media graphics. Please include the Chicago for Indigenous Peoples’ Day hashtag. #CHI4IPD #IndigenousPeoplesDay #AbolishColumbusDay


Computer (Desktop/Laptop) – right click and save or drag and drop into a folder.
Tablet or Mobile Phone – click and hold on image until options appear and save, share, or post.


Computer (Desktop/Laptop) – right click and save or drag and drop into a folder.
Tablet or Mobile Phone – click and hold on image until options appear and save, share, or post.