As the Goethe-Institut Chicago, we recognize Land Acknowledgement as a traditional practice of Native Peoples, as a reminder of our relationship to and dependence on the land, and that we are guests here. Chicago is the traditional homelands of the Council of the Three Fires: The Odawa, Ojibwe and Potawatomi Nations. Many other Nations like the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sauk and Meskquaki also call this area home.
Indigenous people continue to call this area home and now Chicago is home to the sixth largest Urban native community that still practices their heritage, traditions, and care for the land and waterways. Despite the many changes the city has experienced, both our Indigenous and the Goethe-Institut Chicago community see the importance of the land and this place that has always been a city home to many diverse backgrounds and perspectives. As a reflection of this commitment we are conducting ongoing self-education and expanding our public programming around these subjects.
A Land Acknowledgement should also be more than that; it should be a call to rethink one’s own relationship with the environment and the histories of all peoples. This statement was crafted in partnership with the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research at Northwestern University to help all rethink their relationships with the city, the land and the environment.
Why is Indigenous land acknowledgment important?“It is important to understand the longstanding history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation.” - Northwestern University (Source: Native Governance Center)
“When we talk about land, land is part of who we are. It’s a mixture of our blood, our past, our current, and our future. We carry our ancestors in us, and they’re around us. As you all do.” - Mary Lyons, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (Souce: Native Governance Center)