Northwest Portage Walking Museum (approved Aug. 2019)
Founded in 1953, the American Indian Center (AIC) was established to provide a gathering space with culture-based programs for Native American families displaced by the Federal Relocation Program of the 1950s. The AIC’s mission is “To promote fellowship among Indian people of all Tribes living in metropolitan Chicago and to create bonds of understanding and communication between Indians and non-Indians in this city. To advance the general welfare of Indian people, to sustain cultural, artistic, and avocational pursuits, and to perpetuate Indian cultural values.” The AIC has received seven grants from Illinois Humanities.
“The broader project is the Northwest Portage Walking Museum, an outdoor museum that will stretch for eight miles along Irving Park Road, weaving an interpretive connection between the Chicago and Des Plaines Rivers. It is meant to celebrate the natural and cultural living histories of indigenous peoples and local communities through art, education and recreation. Illinois Humanities’ grant funds went specifically to create a curriculum and support programming for the museum. This project is the result of strong partnership between the Chicago Public Art Group, the American Indian Center, and the Portage Park Neighborhood Association, among others.