Skip to contents
Downtown

3 Ways To Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day In Chicago

While the city dismantled its Columbus statues in 2020, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other city leaders have resisted replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Maritza Garcia dances a traditional Jingle Dress Dance at a rally for Indigenous Peoples' Day on October 11, 2021.
Amy Qin/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — While the city dismantled its three Columbus statues after violent clashes in Grant Park in 2020, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other city leaders have resisted replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Legislative efforts to swap the holidays in Chicago have stalled, despite Chicago Public Schools ending its commemoration of Columbus Day and more than 100 other cities making the change as leaders grapple with honoring and memorializing historical figures with violent, racist or controversial legacies. In 2021, President Joe Biden issued a presidential proclamation calling on Indigenous Peoples’ Day to be celebrated along with Columbus Day.

The Joint Civic Committee of Italian American’s 70th annual Columbus Day Parade will kick off at 1 p.m. Downtown.

Here are three ways you can celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Chicago Monday:

Calling For Change

The Indigenous Peoples’ Day Coalition-Illinois with more than 195 supporting groups will host a press conference at 11 a.m. at Pottawattomie Park, 7340 N. Rogers Ave., calling on Cook County to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, Congresswoman-elect Delia Ramirez, State Senator Mike Simmons, State Rep. Will Guzzardi, Ald. Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd), Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) and Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates are expected to attend.

More information here.

Panel, Indigenous Scholar Q&A And Virtual Author Talk

Curators at the Chicago History Museum will host an afternoon of Indigenous Peoples’ Day events at the museum, 1601 N. Clark St., starting at 1:30 p.m.

At 1:30 p.m. in the Guild Room, director of collections Julie Wroblewski and project archivist Lydia Wood will discuss the work the museum has done to collect Indigenous objects

At 3 p.m. in the Guild Room, Indigenous scholar Starla Thompson will share stories from and the history about the Potawatomi people.

At 4 p.m. on Zoom, Dr. John Low, professor at Ohio State University, will speak about his book “Imprints: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the City of Chicago. “

Admission is free for Illinois residents. More information here.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day Fest

The city’s first Indigenous Peoples’ Day festival continues 6:30-10 p.m. Monday at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.

The two-night fest sponsored by Sky People Entertainment and the Old Town School of Folk Music features musical performances and dancing by Indigenous artists, showcasing a variety of Indigenous rock, EDM, hip-hop, Latin fusion and more. Admission is free and donations will be accepted at the door. You can reserve tickets online here.

More information here.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 

Thanks for subscribing to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods. Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: