The Department of Classical Studies affirms the Land Acknowledgement statement of the Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy of Loyola University Chicago.
The Loyola community occupies the ancestral homelands of the people of the Council of Three Fires. This Council was an alliance which formed based on the shared language, similar culture, and common historical background of its three historical members: the Odawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe nations. The land that Loyola occupies, which includes the shore and waters of Lake Michigan, was also a site of trade, travel, gathering and healing for more than a dozen other Native tribes, including the Menominee, Michigamea, Miami, Kickapoo, Peoria and Ho-Chunk nations. The history of the entire city of Chicago is intertwined with histories of native peoples. The name Chicago is adopted from the Algonquin language, and the Chicagoland area is still home to the largest number of Native Americans in the Midwest, over 65,000.
It should be noted that the United States acquiring these native lands did not happen by chance. Instead, a series of land cessation treaties between the Odawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe and the United States chipped away at the nations’ ability to reside on these ancestral lands. With the 1833 Treaty of Chicago, the Odawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe were forced out of Illinois and onto a drastically smaller stretch of land west of the Mississippi River. They ultimately ended up in what is now Kansas and Oklahoma. This treaty was part of the wave of forced migrations of many Native nations which happened in the wake of the 1830 Indian Removal Act, signed into law by President Andrew Jackson. Over a century later, with the Indian Relocation Act of 1956, Native people were relocated to urban centers, in a manner modeled after the forced relocation of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. Chicago became a major destination for relocated Native people, who, when they arrived, were faced with poverty, isolation, and discrimination.
The history of the lands Loyola occupies, and the history of Native Americans in Chicago and Illinois, is a history of displacement, conquest, and dehumanization. We at Loyola, in step with our Jesuit Catholic tradition, must commit to acknowledging this violent history by incorporating Native American texts and perspectives into our classes and working to keep this shared history alive in our study, conversation, and professional development.