The Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Land Acknowledgement serves two main purposes: To acknowledge that we are on Native American land; and to commit ourselves to developing and growing partnerships with the Native American communities that live on this land today.
On this page:
Land Acknowledgement Statement
The Forest Preserves of Cook County acknowledges that we are on the lands of the Council of Three Fires—the Ojibwa, Ottawa and Potawatomi—as well as the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sauk and Meskwaki peoples.
As a land management agency, we acknowledge that we have played a role in shaping the histories of local Native Americans by acquiring this land. We also recognize, share and celebrate their immemorial ties to this land.
We commit ourselves to developing deeper partnerships that advocate for the progress, dignity and humanity of the many diverse Native Americans who still live and practice their heritage and traditions on this land today.
Uses & History
The Land Acknowledgement can be used in official materials or read at the beginning of a public program, ecological stewardship day or other gathering. Most often, a Forest Preserves staff member or guest host will read the Land Acknowledgement.
The Forest Preserves Conservation & Experiential Programming (CEP) Department has developed standards and resources for incorporating the Land Acknowledgement into our public programming and respectfully presents the Land Acknowledgement at our public events.
The Land Acknowledgement was created in consultation with the American Indian Center of Chicago and read for the first time on Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2019 at a celebration of the new Serpent Twin Mound (Pokto Činto) at Schiller Woods. Indigenous artist
Santiago X created the mound as part of 4000N, an outdoor learning experience connecting the Des Plaines River and the North Branch of the Chicago River.
These are the Native American tribes—as they call themselves—recognized in our Land Acknowledgement:
- Council of Three Fires
- Anishinaabeg (Ojibwa)
- Odawak (Ottawa)
- Bodéwadmik (Potawatomi)
- Myaamiaki (Miami)
- Hoocąk (Ho-Chunk)
- Kiash Matchitiwuk (Menominee)
- Asâkîwaki (Sauk)
- Meshkwahkîha (Meskwaki)
This Land Acknowledgement is a living document. It was last updated in October 2021, based on feedback from a member of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.
If you have feedback, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building Community Relationships
Native Americans continue to live and practice their heritage and traditions in the Chicago region, including through stewardship of the land. Chicago is home to the country’s third-largest urban Native American population, and it is the responsibility of the Forest Preserves to engage these communities—celebrating their past, present and future.
The Forest Preserves continues to collaborate with organizations and programs serving Native American communities, including the American Indian Center of Chicago (AIC), American Indian Health Services of Chicago, Trickster Cultural Center, the American Indian Education Program at Chicago Public Schools, the St. Kateri Center of Chicago and Northwestern University’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research.
In November 2020, the Forest Preserves signed a partnership agreement with the AIC to work on developing long-term community programming around the Serpent Twin Mound and Irving Park Canoe Landing at Schiller Woods, the Des Plaines River, and Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The Forest Preserves is also developing additional strategies for reaching out to Native American communities related to interpretation, stewardship and cultural events.