Native American Language Institute
The Chicago Indian Museum is also home to the Native American Language Institute, where the AIAI has offered instruction in many different native languages including Ojibwe, Lakota, Dakota, Choctaw, Navajo, and Ho-Chunk.
Bear Claw Multimedia
The CAI Museum is also the home of Bear Claw Multi-Media. This small production company offers video training and editing facilities to students interested in documenting the history and current events of the Chicago American Indian community. The Tribal Wood Film Festival was also launched through this venue in 2010.
Chicago American Indian Museum Without Walls
Featuring The Black Hawk Performance Company
In 2010, AIAI opened the first American Indian museum in Chicago.
The opening exhibit was titled “We Carry Our Stories on Cradle Boards.” This exhibit featured handmade modern cradleboards and stories told by Dene flute player, Andrew Begay. The Chicago American Indian Museum Without Walls is home to the Black Hawk Performance Company and the Been Nah Un Den Nah Drum Group, who perform for thousands of children and their parents every year.
The Black Hawk Performance Company provides an outlet for experienced American Indian talent to share native cultures with the general public and it provides a venue for young native people to learn to celebrate the many tribal songs and dances that enrich our lives as tribal people. Members of Black Hawk speak five different Native languages and present storytelling, flute playing, and traditional as well as modern music in their presentations. Black Hawk, founded in 1984, is the oldest American Indian dance company in Chicago.
American Indian traditional and modern arts are taught through the museum’s Living Tribal Arts program. Classes are offered in drum making, beadwork, dance regalia making, feather work, jewelry making, leather pouch creation, cradle board making, dance gourd construction, as well as photography and video production. These classes are offered by artists from the AIAI American Indian Artist’s Registry.
For more information about any of the CAI Museum Without Walls programs, contact Melanie Cloud at 773.338.8320.
TRIBAL WOOD AMERICAN INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL
The Tribal Wood American Indian Film Festival highlights American Indian films and videos that seek to build a new, stronger, accurate and more positive view of native life. It also seeks to encourage young people to learn the craft of video production in combination with the art of native storytelling. In 2010, Tribal Wood collaborated with Harold Washington College and other community venues. If you are interested in hosting Tribal Wood, contact AIAI at 773.338.8320.