A New Home for Indian History American Indians Found Refuge in Chicago during the 1950s. Now the American Indian Center Is Opening New Doors for Education with an Art Gallery and Museum in Schaumburg

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Byline: Sara Burnett Daily Herald Staff Writer


CORRECTION/date 12-01-2004: To correct a misspelled name on a front-page caption that appeared with the story about the American Indian Center of Chicago, Joe Podlasek was holding daughter Ajiina.


It was 1953 when a small group of American Indians held the first American Indian Center Powwow in Chicago. They filled the streets near Kinzie and LaSalle, dancing and singing and pounding drums.

At the time, the U.S. government was stripping more than 100 tribes of their "official" status, forcing many American Indians to leave tribal lands throughout the Midwest for cities such as Chicago.

The powwow - sponsored by the American Indian Center of Chicago, which opened that year - gave the many transplants a common place to gather.

Since then, the powwow has grown and moved to the University of Illinois at Chicago. The number of American Indians in the metropolitan area also has expanded, topping more than 31,000 in the 2000 census.

By early next year, those people - and their history - will have another home, this one in the Northwest suburbs.

The American Indian Center of Chicago is expected to open a museum and art gallery Feb. 1 in the Schaumburg-owned building once occupied by the Chicago Athenaeum, an art and architecture museum.

The city will lease the property, at 190 S. Roselle Road in Schaumburg's Town Square, for $1 per year. …