Chiaravalle Montessori occupies the ancestral land of the people of the Council of Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa, as well as the Menominee, Miami, and Ho-Chunk nations who were the original stewards of these lands. This area was also a place of gathering and trade for more than a dozen other Native tribes. In 1821 this territory was purchased at the Treaty of Chicago (“Checagou,” a word from the Algonquian people) after two-and-a-half years of open warfare. There was no significant Native presence for over a hundred years after European settlers’ unfair and violent takeover. The Indian Relocation Act of 1956 forced many Native Americans to make the Chicagoland region their home again. Chicagoland is now one of the largest Native American urban communities in the United States. Illinois is home to the Ho-Chunk, Miami, Inoka, Menominee, Sac, and Fox communities and their descendants.
As an academic institution, we embrace our responsibility to educate our students and community about the original inhabitants’ rich history and the tragedies, violence, and near-genocide endured at the hands of the European settlers. In respect, honor, and attempt to heal Native communities, we must ask what actions correct historical wrongs of state violence and colonization. Chiaravalle offers support to Indigenous communities’ struggles for self-determination and sovereignty.