Mission Statement

The Education Department’s mission is to create and sustain innovative learning environments that are built from the intellectual and cultural strengths of our community. While emphasizing safe, positive and empowering learning environments that prepare Indigenous youth, adults, elders, professionals and their communities to contribute to the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples.

Vision Statement

The Education Department’s vision is a community of culturally vibrant youth, adults, and elders who are knowledgeable, capable, responsible, respectful and striving for “minobimaadiziwin” – the good life.


Positive Path Seasonal Programming
Positive Paths’ vision is a community of culturally vital youth who are knowledgeable, capable, responsible, and respectful to themselves, their families, and the community.
To attain this vision, Positive Paths’ mission is to create a safe, positive, and empowering environment for Native youth to learn and live in wellness.
Positive Paths is a seasonal program offered over Winter, Spring and Summer breaks.


Indigenous Science Days – Monthly Meet Ups Starting Back Up October 2016
Indigenous Science Days are about engaging in the natural world around us. Community members, adults, children, families are all welcome to join us on these days exploring and reclaiming traditional practices and knowledge about the Chicagos’ Indigenous Landscape.

Indigenous Science Days take place across different outdoor sites across Chicago. Participants will be able to partake in culturally relevant seasonal activities including harvesting, land restoration and management, invasive species removal, planting, etc.

Get to Know Our Outdoor Classrooms:


AIC Garden
For millennia Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island have relied on various species of plants for food, medicine, industry and ceremonial life. As in the past, many members of the American Indian Community of Chicago still utilize these plants and traditions today.The garden’s purpose is to provide community members access to medicinal, edible and ceremonial plants; an outdoor classroom for youth and adults to learn about plant identification and prairie ecosystem; an urban prairie demonstration area; habitat for local wildlife; and a public green space for the community and neighborhood. It has served as an outdoor classroom throughout the past decade. Today the AIC garden is also preparing for the big move to our new location. During this transitioning time, the garden will be moved to two sites over this Summer (June-August); The Metra Rail Embankment at Wilson and Ravenswood and the Latino Cultural Center's Heritage Gardens at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Dunning Read Conservation Area (DRCA)
DRCA is a 25-acre conservation easement located on the campus of the Chicago Read Mental Health facility where the AIC maintains a wet meadow restoration area, helps facilitate edible plant harvesting, control invasive plant species, and monitors wildlife within and outside of the conservation area. In 2013, AIC staff and community worked on restoration through phytoremediation (using plants to clean soil, water and air) and traditional land management practices such as prairie burning and seed spreading. The AIC manages around 2.5 acres of land at the site and utilizes the area as an outdoor classroom site for our Indigenous Science Days.

Metra Heritage Garden
The AIC has partnered with the Union Pacific to develop a Heritage Garden along the Metra train tracks on Ravenswood Avenue, along a block-long embankment between Sunnyside and Wilson. This garden location will foster plants from the AIC garden, as well as, serve as outdoor classroom site for Indigenous Science Days and other AIC programs.