Indigenous Chicago

Chicago has always been a Native place.

Home to the Potawatomi, Odawa, Ojibwe, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Myaamia, Wea, Sauk, Meskwaki, and Ho-Chunk peoples, the place we now call Chicago has long been a historic crossroads for many Indigenous people and remains home to an extensive urban Native community. Yet most Chicagoans are unaware of the city’s history as a home to diverse Indigenous peoples and the vibrant Indigenous communities present today. Part of a multifaceted initiative developed in partnership between the Newberry, advisors from the Chicago Native community, and representatives from tribal nations with historic connections to Chicago, this exhibition reflects the dynamic and complex aspects of Native life in Chicago from the seventeenth century to the present. The exhibition draws largely on the Newberry's collection while also showcasing new work by contemporary Native artists, including Jason Wesaw (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi), Camille Billie (Oneida), and Jim Terry (Ho-Chunk).


  • Rose Miron, Director of the D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies
  • Analú María López (Huachichil/Xi'iui), Ayer Librarian and Assistant Curator of American Indian and Indigenous Studies
  • Doug Kiel (Oneida), Department of History, Northwestern University
  • Dave Spencer (Mississippi Chata/Dine), American Indian Center of Chicago