Published May 6, 2017
CHICAGO — Last month, the nation’s oldest urban American Indian Center moved to a new home in Albany Park – 3401 W. Ainslie after many years in Uptown at 1630 W. Wilson Avenue. The Center will continue to be a home for Chicago area Native families and provide cultural and social programs serving elders, families and children for many more years to come.
To mark this momentous occasion, they are holding a walk: AIC Walk | Generations Together from the old neighborhood starting near Chase Park to the new American Indian Center home on Ainslie – Saturday, May 6, 2017 starting at 8:00 am. This is approximate 2.5 miles long down Wilson Avenue to Kimball and will include 4 stops where speakers will address the walkers 1) Near Chase Park- 4701 N Ashland Ave., 2) 1630 W. Wilson, 3) Wilson Avenue bridge/Chicago River and, 4) concluding at new AIC, 3401 W. Ainslie. At the end of the walk the AIC is hosting their open house and community meeting and board elections starting at 10:00 am. The public is invited to participate. Over 100 Native American walkers are preregistered.
Invited speakers include a mix of elders, youth and leaders: Father Peter Powell and Susan Powers, elders and AIC founding members, Sharon Skolnik, Artist and former Director, Youth leaders including Miss Indian Chicago, Alexis Roy, Chicago Title 7 Ambassador, Rafael Reza and members of the Chi-Town Youth group. Also the group has invited local Aldermen including Carlos Rosas, Ameya Pawar, Deborah Mell
The AIC’s mission: “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 American Indians into the metropolitan community life; to foster the economic advancement of Indian people, to sustain cultural, artistic, and avocational pursuits; and to perpetuate Indian cultural values.”
Today, the AIC strives to be the primary cultural and community resource for nearly 65,000 American Indians in Chicagoland’s six county region. Chicago is the third largest urban Native American population in the country with over one-hundred tribal nations represented. With over 75% of all Native people living off-reservations, the AIC represents this emerging Native population shift, resulting in a diverse multitribal community in need of a common social and cultural place of gathering. Through a combination of short-term relief services and long-term education and support programs, they seek to foster physical and spiritual health in the community, an active connection with traditional values and practices, stronger families with multigenerational bonds, and a rising generation of educated, articulate, and visionary youth.
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