About the Series
The NEA Big Read: Indigenous Stories celebrates the diverse Indigenous heritages of North America through free community book groups, public discussions, and hands-on workshops.
Become a part of the Big Read by joining a local book group in Illinois or download our Big Read Toolkit to host your own – then join other Indigenous Stories readers for free events and workshops around Chicago.
Together, we’ll discuss these texts and explore different experiences of Native survivance that challenge our notions of freedom, belonging, and displacement. Book groups begin in November 2022 – sign up below!
More Indigenous Stories events will be announced for Spring, 2023. Sign up for the Indigenous Stories mailing list to hear about new events and happenings.
The NEA Big Read: Indigenous Stories is a program of Illinois Humanities made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
Join a Book Group
Book groups will be hosted by libraries, bookstores, and Illinois Humanities partners. Check out available groups below and contact the host to sign up and receive a free copy of our Indigenous Stories titles.
Rogers Park Long Overdue Book Group | Chicago, IL (Virtual)
Bronzeville Long Overdue Book Group | Chicago, IL (Virtual)
Little Village (Spanish-language reading group) | Chicago, IL
Granite City bilingual book club/club de lectura bilingüe | Granite City, IL
Illinois State Museum | Springfield, IL (Virtual)
Host a Book Group
- Tips to help you dig deeper into each book
- Questions to guide your meetings
- Additional resources to structure your group’s experience
Sign up for our NEA Big Read email list to hear about new events and resources as they become available.
Questions about hosting a group of your own? Get in touch! Contact Rebecca Amato, Director of Teaching and Learning, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NEA Big Read: Indigenous Stories will host a series of public events and workshops throughout Chicago to connect your reading experience to tangible histories and local Native communities. You don’t have to be a book group member to attend – View the calendar below to find an event near you.
More events to be announced for Winter and Spring, 2023. Sign up for the Indigenous Stories mailing list to hear about new events and happenings.
Join us for the launch of The NEA Big Read: Indigenous Stories and a complimentary visit to the Field Museum’s Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories exhibition.
Saturday, November 19, 2022, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. | Field Museum | Founders’ Room 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL
Starting in 1952, after the Urban Indian Relocation Act of 1948, the United States government initiated the Urban Indian Relocation Program, designed to move Native Americans off reservations to seven major urban cities, including Chicago. The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian will host a hybrid in-person and virtual event with members of Chicago’s Native communities, featuring a panel and community discussion about the program and its impact on generations of families who still feel the effects of that displacement.
November 30, 2022 | Mitchell Museum of the American Indian | 3001 Central St, Evanston, IL
Join the Newberry Library’s Dr. Kara Johnson, Director of Teacher Programs, and Analú María López, Ayer Indigenous Studies Librarian as they host a workshop that includes a firsthand experience of the Newberry Library’s Edward E. Ayer Collection. This collection is is one of the strongest collections on American Indian and Indigenous Studies in the world.
Saturday, January 21, 2023 10:00 a.m. – Noon | Newberry Library | Rettinger Hall 60 W Walton St, Chicago, IL
Join us for a writing workshop with writer, photographer, scholar, and former Wisconsin Poet Laureate Kimberly M. Blaeser.
This workshop, in collaboration with the Center for Native Futures, will engage emerging writers in the process of developing their own authentic, creative voices.
Saturday, March 25, 2023 2:00 p.m. | Haymarket House | 800 W Buena Ave, Chicago, IL
Set to be completed in the summer of 2023, indigenous futurist artist
SANTIAGO X met with Native youth to collaboratively imagine the creation of a new earthwork, a mound installation in the form of a snake that would stretch from the west, at Schiller Park in Chicago’s suburbs, to the east, at Horner Park. Join our hosts, the Chicago Public Art Group, as they engage attendees in learning about indigenous earthwork practices in our region.
Spring, 2023 | Horner Park | Southern end near the Chicago River 2741 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL
Thanks to Our Partners
Illinois Humanities is thrilled to partner with 17 bookstores throughout the Chicago area to put Indigenous Stories titles into the hands of readers. Bookstores are vital places of the public humanities—cornerstones of community and spaces to gather, reflect, and discover. We’re grateful to our partners for joining us to celebrate Indigenous voices. These bookstores are stocked with Indigenous Stories titles and are also giving away National Endowment for the Arts bookmarks!
Visit these sellers to pick up your copy of an Indigenous Stories book.
- The Book Bin: 1151 Church St., Northbrook, IL 60062
- The Book Table: 1045 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL 60301
- Bucket O’Blood Books and Records: 3182 N Elston Ave, Chicago IL 60618
- City Lit Books: 2523 N. Kedzie Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647
- Exile in Bookville: 410 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605
- Heirloom Books: 6239 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60660
- Kibbitznest Books, Blues, & Blarney: 2212 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
- The Looking Glass: 823 S Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 60304
- Madison Street Books: 1127 W. Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607
- Open Books: 651 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661
- Sandmeyer’s Bookstore: 714 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60605
- Seminary Co-op: 5751 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637
- 57th Street Books: 1301 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637
- The Underground Bookstore: 1727 E. 87th St, Chicago, IL 60617
- Volumes Bookcafe: 1373 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60622
- Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co.: 1276 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
- Women & Children First: 5233 N. Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
Resources and Additional Readings
Below please find additional resources and readings. If you have something you would like added to this list, please contact Rebecca Amato, Director of Teaching and Learning, at email@example.com.