Chicago Native Voice represents the community organizing platform of the American Indian Center of Chicago. Our mission is to amplify the voice of Indigenous Peoples living in the Chicagoland area. We collectively arrive at solutions. We build campaigns and we win together.
The issues and causes we engage have a common goal to empower Chicago Natives with the knowledge and tools needed to arrive at solutions that win equity, self-determination, and justice for our community.
The very spirit of activism and organizing is a long-lived tradition in our Chicago Native community going back to 1953 (Modern) when the American Indian Center was established by a group of Natives sent to Chicago during the Relocation Era. This early group of Urban Indians was sent to Chicago by the United States government to effectively assimilate Indians by further removing them from their People, Land, and Traditions. The American Indian Center and our community continues to be the answer to the question of assimilation.
Aside from the founding of the AIC, Indian organizing and activism has led to many wins for our people that still resonate today. Two examples of these wins include the American Indian Education Act of 1972 (Title VII) and Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA). These policy wins have given us the ability to organize from within the establishment of public education and public policy to provide special services that meet the particular needs of our people.
The need to organize and be heard continues today. Currently, our platform highlights the inequalities within education, the environment, jobs, and the IL budget. Doing our best to represent our community, we know there is a great amount of work that must be done as we organize for equity.
Education: Community led campaign for Indigenous Peoples’ Day to replace Columbus Day on the second Monday of October and equitable curriculum in public education that is more inclusive of Indigenous history, People, and perspectives;
Revenue: Fix the Illinois Budget: Broad campaign with our partners from the Equal Voice Network and ONE Northside to make Governor Rauner #ChooseRevenue for Illinois schools and social services;
Jobs & Environment: Clean Jobs Bill/ Clean Power Plan – Broad campaign with our partners from One Northside and Fair Economy Illinois. Proposed legislation that requires that Illinois generate 35% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, requires that Illinois utilities save 20% more power by improving energy efficiency by 2025, creates 32000 new green jobs per year once fully implemented, ensures that Illinois complies with the Clean Power Pl an’s required emission reductions.