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The Evanston Public Library will be holding “An Indigenous History of the Upper Great Lakes Region,” a two-session mini-course focusing on the customs and history of the local Native American communities. Organized in partnership with the Northwestern Emeriti Organization, this free course will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on two successive Tuesdays, May 11 and 18.
Professor Patty Loew, director of Northwestern’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research, will teach the course. A citizen of Mashkiiziibii (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe), she is the award-winning author of several books and the producer of several highly praised PBS documentaries.
“Wherever you are on the planet, take the time to learn about the Indigenous inhabitants of the area,” Professor Loew said. “These are the people who shaped the landscape, lived in harmony with it, and cherished it.”
Most local history begins with the nineteenth century “treaties” that led to the expulsion of Native Americans from the land and subsequent American settlement. Before that, some may recall the French Jesuits and voyageurs who proselytized their religion or traded in the Upper Great Lakes in the 1600s and 1700s. But the often-unacknowledged reality is that this land had been lived in by native peoples for thousands of years. This mini-course will bring that truth to light and discuss its implications for our treatment of the land today.
The land on the southwestern shore of Ininwewigichigami (Lake Michigan) sits on the traditional homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires: the Ojibwe, the Potawatomi, and Odawa, as well as the Menominee, Miami, and Ho-Chunk nations.
This course will outline that rich history, as well as the displacement and eradication of native peoples. It will also explore the ways that Native American Nations are advocating today for contemporary environmental struggles by invoking treaty rights.
Any and all current residents of the Evanston or Chicago area are invited to attend. Although attendance of both sessions is strongly recommended, it is not required. Register online at epl.org.