The American Indian Center of Chicago puts the event on each year. For over fifty years, the AIC has been the gathering place for hundreds of Native Americans throughout the Chicagoland area. The Center was established in 1953 in response to the sudden influx of Native Americans moving to the city. Why this increase in Chicago’s Native peoples population? Thousands left their reservations after the instatement of the Indian Relocation Act, a law which encouraged Native Americans to assimilate into the general population, and found themselves in Chicago. But of course the transition from rural reservations to urban life was challenging.
And that’s where the AIC comes in. As the longest-serving urban Indian organization in the country, the AIC creates a safe place for community members to voice their issues and celebrate their heritage. It also acts as a meeting ground for Native Americans of all tribal backgrounds—presently the Center has members from more than 50 tribes. Run entirely by Chicago Indian community members, the AIC has introduced various educational programs for its youth, health and social service programs for the larger community, and has organized powwows, potlucks, bingo nights, and commemorative dinners for its members.
But the biggest powwow of the year takes place in the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom thiseach year! From 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 pm. on Sunday, join singers, dancers, and arts and craft and food vendors from across the U.S. at the largest Native American gathering in the Midwest.
Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children (ages 6-12) and seniors. Students and groups receive a $2 discount and $18 weekend passes are also available. And in the spirit of Thanksgiving, the AIC asks all attendees to bring a canned food donation to help out local families in need.