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Press Release: Native American Coil Mound proposed to create social change on MLK Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 13, 2021

CONTACT: Fawn Pochel, Education Coordinator

fawn@aicchicago.org | 773-275-5871

Native American Coil Mound proposed to create social change on MLK Day

Constructing a new earthwork on the banks of the Chicago River would be an opportunity for Native Americans to “innovate on our own land again,” said the artist for the project that is launching a $75,000 fundraising campaign on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Coil Mound proposed at Horner Park, 2741 W. Montrose Ave., has been years in the making, requiring approvals from U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Native American councils and the Horner Park area community. The lead partners, American Indian Center, Chicago Public Art Group and Portage Park Neighborhood Association, have worked hard to involve community members and stakeholders in the process.

The project lead partners along with the Steering Committee would like to introduce 4000N, the new name of the trail. The new name describes the location of the trail and does not misinform the public that Irving Park Road was a historical portage used by Native Americans.

In lieu of a physical celebration, 4000N is asking people to celebrate the National Martin Luther King Day of Service by helping to create social change within our common places of gathering as we build one of the first Indigenous Mounds since the establishment of the United States. Coil Mound will be a 90-foot diameter and 12-foot high earthwork covered with grasses and plants such as Nodding Onion, Virginia Strawberry and Buffalo Grass.

And even though mound building is an ancient practice, Coil Mound will be embedded with augmented reality hotspots to pull up cultural context in the form of websites, 3D models and interactions that will give the visitors an opportunity to contribute to the story of this earthwork.

“It’s not nostalgia or replication; it’s about being able to innovate on our own land again, which gets to the heart of what it means to be an Indigenous Futurist.” said Santiago X, the project artist.

Coil Mound will be the eastern anchor in the 4000N network that runs along Irving Park Road (which is at 4000 North on Chicago’s street system). The western anchor is an earthwork called Pokto Cinto, which means Serpent Twin in Koasati, a Native American language spoken by Santiago X’s people. The western earthwork on the Des Plaines River is the serpent body, and, 8 miles away on the Chicago River, Coil Mound represents the serpent head coming out of the ground.

Coil Mound’s location along the Chicago River seeks to connect to the river as a key design element because the regional indigenous community has a storied past and thriving contemporary culture centered on connections to our waterways. Another key design element is augmented reality because, in the spirit of Rev. King, it will use education to break down the misconception that Native Americans are a culture of only the past.

4000N is a multi-faceted outdoor learning experience on Chicago’s Northwest Side. It was conceived of as the Northwest Portage Walking Museum, but organizers have updated the name to shorten it and to convey that this project is not limited to a single museum building. 4000N started out as an idea from the president of the Portage Park Neighborhood Association and has grown into a coalition, including the American Indian Center of Chicago, Chicago Public Art Group and many Northwest Side organizations.

The GoFundMe campaign is at https://www.gofundme.com/f/coil-mound-fundraiser-for-indigenous-futurity

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