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Without Native Americans, Would We Have Chicago As We Know It?

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Katherine Nagasawa

In this special Curious City presentation, we explore how Native Americans used trade, intermarriage, and their knowledge of the region’s geography to help lay the foundation for the city of Chicago. And we’ll consider an even bigger question: Would Chicago exist as we know it today — as a key Midwestern metropolis — without the Native Americans? Click here for the full story.

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Chicago’s geological history stretches back more than 400 million years. The region was once an underwater reef and, later, covered in ice.
Native Americans have always lived in Chicago, but in the mid-20th century they established a cultural enclave in Uptown, anchored by community centers and social connections.