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Press Release: AIC Continues Recognition of Chicago’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day


March 2, 2020

CONTACT: Heather Miller, Executive Director | 773-275-5871

– The AIC is the primary cultural and community resource for nearly 65,000 American Indians in Chicagoland’s six-county region.

– Chicago is the ninth-largest urban Native American population in the country, with over one-hundred tribal nations represented.

American Indian Center continues recognition of Chicago’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Chicago, IL. The American Indian Center of Chicago acknowledges the progressive action taken by the Board of Education to no longer observe Columbus Day and change the name to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which recognizes that the explorer’s arrival began the genocide of Indigenous people.

The American Indian Center and community members have actively requested meetings with city government and Italian leadership, and only recently has Mayor Lightfoot met with Heather Miller, Executive Director. Italian leaders have repeatedly rebuffed such calls.

“I absolutely have no plans to support any elimination of Columbus Day at the city level,” and “there is a lot more we can do to be aware and sensitive of the history,” stated the Mayor. The process of healing for the nearly 65,000 Indigenous people in the Chicagoland’s six-county region, begins with the passage of Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Chicago. A proclamation would be a powerful message from the city that the Native American community does matter.

The Indigenous Peoples’ Day campaign is not anti-Italian nor an attack on our Italian brothers and sisters. Indigenous society is compassionate, as both communities have experienced discrimination and strive for recognition of these atrocities.

The American Indian Center and community members will continue to champion for a seat at the table, whereas Mayor Lightfoot and Italian leadership will be equitable and collaborative in discussions.