About American Indian Association of Illinois
History and Vision
Chicago Has Always Been Indian Country
American Indian people from many different tribes including the Ojibwe, Ho-Chunk, Potawatomie, Ottawa, Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo have lived in Illinois and the Chicago urban area for over 10,000 years. Today, tribal members from over 150 different tribes reside in urban and rural areas of Illinois, including the Ojibwe, Potawatomie, Lakota, Dakota, Navajo, Zuni, Menominee, Oneida and Choctaw, Cherokee and many others.
Columbus did not discover America. Long before 1492, ancestors of modern native people from over 500 different tribes, lived in complex, formalized societies, and hunted, fished, farmed, and traded on the shores of Lake Michigan and throughout Illinois and the Great Lakes area.
NAES College and NAES.Inc.
NAES American Indian College in Chicago, was an historically American Indian controlled institution and the first American Indian College in an urban American Indian community. NAES, founded in 1974, lost its accreditation in 2005. Since there were no Indian controlled college programs left in Illinois, the administration, staff, faculty and volunteers of NAES led by Dr. Dorene Wiese decided to form a new organization, the American Indian Association of Illinois (AIAI) in 2007. They wanted AIAI to continue and expand the work NAES had begun. AIAI is the only Chicago based American Indian non-profit started in the past 25 years. The extensive urban and reservation book, papers, photo, tape, NAES Archives are held by AIAI and the University of Chicago. NAES Inc. continues as a Chicago non-profit organization with archive and library services for students and community sharing space with AIAI.
NAES COLLEGE TRANSCRIPTS
The official NAES College transcripts are currently held by Eastern Illinois University. Please contact the EIU Registrar to obtain your transcript. EIU Transcript Request Form
Urban American Indian Education
While most (78%) American Indian children and families live in urban areas, only one percent of all American Indian educational and other funding is directed to those urban areas. This leaves over one million American Indian children without the basic necessities of life including food, housing, day care, clothing, school supplies, tutoring, legal aid, social services, transportation and health care. Today, AIAI supports American Indian children and families attending the Chicago Public Schools and area Colleges and Universities, with such programs as the Medicine Shield program and the Native Scholars Youth Initiative and strives to bring new funding and programs to those most in need.
URBAN AMERICAN INDIAN TRIBAL ARTS AND CULTURE PROGRAMS
AIAI delivers tribal arts and culture programs, as well as, Native language and music development projects. Native language growth and preservation efforts through the Chicago American Indian Museum Without Walls are ongoing. The Black Hawk Performance Company is the music and dance foundation of the museum. AIAI is also the founder of the American Indian Urban Education Institute Program and offers after school, youth, and adult education programs through its Native Scholars Program. Economic and community development programs are carried out by the Thunder Spirit Institute.
AIAI transforms American Indian education into an experience founded in Native American culture
THE VISION OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN ASSOCIATION OF ILLINOIS
The American Indian Association of Illinois strives to transform American Indian education into an experience founded in native culture, language, and history fused with knowledge, excellence, and tribal values which will enhance tribal nations and urban native communities where American Indian families work, live, worship, attend school, care for their elders, and raise their children.
The American Indian Association of Illinois provides expert educational programs, extensive academic/social support and financial planning for students and families to access and be successful.
For American Indian people, AIAI programs provide a culturally based foundation of education grounded in tribal knowledge.
What We Offer
- Medicine Shield Indian School Program ,College Readinesss, Advising and Courses
- Native Scholars Arts and Culture Tutoring and Family Support
- Chicago American Indian Museum Without Walls
- Black Hawk Music, Dance, Story Telling, Performance Company
- Thunder Spirit Economic Development Institute
- Bearclaw Multimedia
- American Indian Artists-Speakers-Business Registry