WBEZ | American Indian http://www.wbez.org/tags/american-indian Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Native American elder recalls isolation of early days in the city http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/native-american-elder-recalls-isolation-early-days-city-110193 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/140516%20StoryCorps%20Susan%20Kelly%20Power%20and%20Fr%20Peter%20Powell.JPG" style="height: 525px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="Susan Kelly Power and Father Peter Powell came by Chicago’s StoryCorps Booth to talk about the history of Native Americans in Chicago. (Photo courtesy of StoryCorps)" />In the early 1950s, Chicago was home to less than 1,000 Native Americans. By 1960, that number had grown to 10,000, in large part because of changes to federal policy.</p><p><a href="http://www.pbs.org/indiancountry/history/relocate.html">The Indian Relocation programs of the 1950s</a> enticed many Native Americans to move from reservations to big cities, including Chicago. But many Native people felt isolated in their new surroundings, disconnected from their traditional cultures.</p><p><a href="http://aic-chicago.org/">The American Indian Center</a> was formed in 1953 in Uptown as a sanctuary for Native people. Father Peter Powell and Susan Kelly Power were among the Center&rsquo;s founders. Power, 89, is a Native American who grew up in North and South Dakota and moved here as a teenager.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20065509,00.html">Powell, who is white, has spent his career serving as a priest to the Native American population of Chicago.</a> They stopped in the StoryCorps booth recently to talk about how life has changed for Native American people since the 1950s.</p><p>&ldquo;In the early days of Relocation, it was a deliberate policy of the Indian Bureau to scatter people from the same tribe so they wouldn&rsquo;t get together,&rdquo; Father Powell said. A friend told him how she used to stand next to a poster of the ballerina Maria Tallchief because she was one of the only Native American she knew of in Chicago.</p><p>Native people helped each other adjust to city life, &ldquo;but the loneliness for home never left us,&rdquo; Power said. She made a name for herself recording the traditions of the various cultures.<a href="http://www.newberry.org/center-american-indian-and-indigenous-studies-fellowships"> The Newberry Library has a fellowship named in her honor, for scholars of Native American culture.</a> &ldquo;Everyone has a history and no one&rsquo;s history should be forgotten,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>More than six decades after it opened, the American Indian Center still stands in Chicago&rsquo;s Uptown community at 1630 W. Wilson.</p><p>&ldquo;That first generation [of Native Americans in Chicago] &ndash; so wonderfully traditional &ndash; was the foundation for our community today,&rdquo; Father Powell said. &ldquo;And the heart of that community is the American Indian Center.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re around us long enough, you become part of us and you feel it,&rdquo; Power said. &ldquo;Come up to our center sometime and you&rsquo;ll see. Indians are never nosy about if you&rsquo;re worth knowing, if you&rsquo;ve got a good enough job or a place to live in. Should I take the time to know you?&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 16 May 2014 11:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/native-american-elder-recalls-isolation-early-days-city-110193 Contemporary artist Bunky Echo-Hawk blends pop culture and Native American imagery http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/contemporary-artist-bunky-echo-hawk-blends-pop-culture-and-native-american-imagery <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bunky.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Science-fiction icon Yoda wears a feathered headdress, and a traditionally-dressed Native American rides a horse-sized iPhone.</p><p>Contemporary artist Bunky Echo-Hawk combines such pop culture references with Native American imagery to challenge stereotypes and highlight social issues in his community. He is a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and the Yakama Nation of Washington.</p><p>The painter, photographer and writer helped curate a new exhibit at The Field Museum that runs through September 2014.</p><p>&ldquo;Bunky Echo-Hawk: Modern Warrior&rdquo; displays his work alongside several Pawnee artifacts that he helped to pick out of the Field&rsquo;s collection. He selected both decorative items and everyday objects to show how they can inspire people 100 years later. These items include a &ldquo;Ghost Dance&rdquo; dress, a deer-skin drum and a pair of the sneakers he designed for Nike.</p><blockquote><strong>Do you value learning more about Chicago cultural events like this? </strong></blockquote><blockquote><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/donate" target="_blank">Help support WBEZ by making a donation today.</a></strong></blockquote><p>Alaka Wali, the Field Museum&rsquo;s curator of North American Anthropology, co-curated the exhibition with Echo-Hawk.</p><p>&ldquo;Despite (the Native American peoples&rsquo;) severe displacement and the very traumatic experiences that they&rsquo;ve had with Europeans since 1492, why have they been able or how have they been able to be resilient?&rdquo; Dr. Wali asked.&nbsp; &ldquo;To come back and maintain cultural identity despite very severe odds?&rdquo;</p><p>One of the ways Echo-Hawk seeks to keep his culture alive is through live painting, creating a work in front of an audience. He said it&rsquo;s a modern adaptation of a traditional Native American winter pastime, in which an artist recreates an event by drawing on animal hide, and talks with the people gathered around to get enough information to make an &ldquo;honest&rdquo; portrayal.</p><p>Echo-Hawk continued that tradition this past Saturday with a few tweaks:&nbsp; Instead of recreating a &ldquo;buffalo hunt&rdquo; or a &ldquo;great battle,&rdquo; audience members suggested he illustrate a racial stereotype or a historical or current event on canvas.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s an opportunity to kind of bridge the gap between then and now,&rdquo; Bunky Echo-Hawk said. &ldquo;It shows how we once lived and shows how we kind of live now, the things that were changed, the things that were gained and the things that were lost.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/jclee89" target="_blank">@jclee89</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 03 Oct 2013 13:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/contemporary-artist-bunky-echo-hawk-blends-pop-culture-and-native-american-imagery American Indian activist Ada Deer comes to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/american-indian-activist-ada-deer-comes-chicago <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/ada deer sec. of interior.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For decades now, <a href="http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/topics/deer/" target="_blank">Ada Deer</a> has been fighting for the rights of American Indians.<br /><br />The activist and educator has even taken on the powers that be in D.C. to reinstate federal recognition of her own tribe, the <a href="http://www.menominee-nsn.gov/" target="_blank">Menominee of Wisconsin</a>.</p><p>Deer was later named Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs at the <a href="http://www.doi.gov/index.cfm" target="_blank">U.S. Department of the Interior</a>. She is also a long-time advocate for American Indian rights and a distinguished lecturer emerita at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.</p><p>It seems fitting, then, that the <a href="http://www.mitchellmuseum.org/" target="_blank">Mitchell Museum of the American Indian</a> asked Deer to speak on social justice Dec. 8. Her talk, entitled &quot;A Path to Social Justice,&quot; gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and will launch the museum's first anual <a href="http://www.mitchellmuseum.org/documents/MontezumaLecture_Flyer_2010.pdf" target="_blank">Dr. Carlos Montezuma Honororary Lecture</a>. It takes place at the <a href="http://www.musicinst.org/" target="_blank">Music Institute of Chicago</a> in Evanston.</p></p> Tue, 07 Dec 2010 13:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/american-indian-activist-ada-deer-comes-chicago