State Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, speaks on the floor after 3 a.m. on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, to stall for time as Democrats gathered enough members to the chamber to pass a revenue bill. The scramble to pass that bill ultimately prevented lawmakers from passing a measure to grant 1,500 acres of park land to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Guzzardi said. (Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois)

The Prairie Band Potawatomi are now headquartered in northeast Kansas. But they once had a reservation in what is now DeKalb County, a reservation that officials now agree was illegally sold out from under them in 1850.

Prairie Band Potawatomi Chairman Joseph “Zeke” Rupnick, left, and Rep. Will Guzzardi testify before the House Executive Committee in favor of a bill to hand over roughly 1,500 acres of park land in DeKalb County to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. (Peter Hancock / Capitol News Illinois)

The bill would authorize the state to hand over what is now Shabbona Lake and State Park to the tribe for $1. It also allows the tribe and the Department of Natural Resources to enter into a land management agreement under which the land would remain open to the public for recreational use for an unspecified period.

Larissa FastHorse. (Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)

Larissa FastHorse is the first Native American woman to have a play produced on Broadway. “The Thanksgiving Play” is now onstage at Steppenwolf Theatre. It’s a satire about earnest theater folks who attempt to stage a historically accurate Thanksgiving play.

Nora Moore Lloyd’s photographs of Sarah Begay. Lloyd’s works is on display in “Vigilance: Learning From the Legacies of BIPOC Environmental Leaders.” (Courtesy of Nora Moore Lloyd)

“Vigilance: Learning From the Legacies of BIPOC Environmental Leaders” is inspired by the work of Hazel Johnson, a Black Chicagoan known as the mother of the environmental justice movement.

Joseph “Zeke” Rupnick, tribal chairman of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, speaks at a news conference at the Illinois Capitol in February 2024. (Peter Hancock / Capitol News Illinois)

A U.S. Department of the Interior decision places portions of Shab-eh-nay Reservation land, which is located in DeKalb County, into trust for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, which gives the tribal nation sovereignty over the land.

Ronnie Preston dances in the Illinois Capitol in February 2024 as part of the Native American Summit organized by the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative. (Andrew Adams / Capitol News Illinois)

A bill pending in the General Assembly would give back roughly 1,500 acres of park land in DeKalb County to the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. That tribe once occupied much of the Great Lakes region but was forcibly removed in the 19th century.

Covered display at the Field Museum on Jan. 31, 2024. (WTTW News / Eunice Alpasan)

“What’s disappointing is that it takes a federal law to push institutions and agencies to comply and to even just create consultation with tribes,” said Eli Suzukovich, director of cultural preservation and compliance for the Office for Research at Northwestern University.

(WTTW News)

Updated federal regulations require museums to obtain “free, prior and informed consent” from affiliated tribes before displaying or doing research on Native human remains or cultural items.

Left: Black Hawk (Sauk). Right: M’intosh (Creek). Both images are on display in “Indigenous Portraits Unbound” at the Newberry Library. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

On display at the Newberry Library are selections from “History of the Indian Tribes of North America,” a set of early 19th century books rich with imagery. It’s one of the earliest and best records of what Indigenous people, including Seneca and Black Hawk, actually looked like.

Author Tommy Orange is pictured on Nov. 15, 2023. (WTTW News)

Tommy Orange’s novel, “There There,” has been chosen as the latest selection for the Chicago Public Library’s One Book, One Chicago program. The book, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, tells the story of Native American life, not as it existed centuries ago, but as it does now.

(Courtesy of Center for Native Futures)

The Center for Native Futures was founded by artists on a mission to make an epicenter of Native creativity. The inaugural exhibition showcases dynamic work from artists representing 19 Native tribes.

(Courtesy of “Skywalkers”)

Filmed at the Willis Tower, on the lakeshore at the Promontory Point with the city’s skyline in the background and other locations, “Skywalkers” is set to play on a permanent loop as art of a large public commission to Chicago artists. 

In this image taken from video, Matthew Bussler, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer at Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, uses mapping equipment in Dowagiac, Mich., on Aug. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/Melissa Winder)

Key to the measure is first-time authority for tribes to rebury recovered remains in Illinois, which they much prefer to relocating them to states to which the U.S. government forced their relocation nearly two centuries ago.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a bill signing ceremony in Chicago Aug. 4, 2023, before signing three measures extending cultural protections to Native Americans in Illinois and requiring the teaching of Native American history in public schools. (Credit: Illinois.gov)
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At a bill signing ceremony in Schaumburg, Pritzker highlighted three historic sites that were significant in Native American history in Illinois.

Anthony Michael Tamez and Nikki McDaid Barry appear on “Chicago Tonight” on Nov. 23, 2022.

Thanksgiving brings families and friends together across the country, but for many Native Americans it’s also recognized as the National Day of Mourning.

(Credit: Jay Young)
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The Field Museum renovated its Native North America Hall and drastically shifted its focus. The new approach emphasizes story-telling and contemporary art – as well as historical items from the collection. The exhibition space is called “Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories.”