Before colonization and settlement by people of European descent, the place we know as Evanston was home to the Potawatomi, Odawa (Ottawa) and Ojibwe Tribes, also known as the Niswi-mishkodewinan (Council of the Three Fires), an alliance of Anishinaabeg peoples. It also served as an important crossroads and meeting place for a number of other Indigenous tribal nations, including the Ho-Chunk, Illinois, Inoka, Kickapoo, Miami, Menominee, Peoria, and Sac and Fox Nations. We acknowledge and honor the original people of this land, as well as the Indigenous people that still call this area home, and support their continued work for justice, self-determination, and sovereignty.
The Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group has written an excellent statement on why it is important to acknowledge and recognize the history of this land, which we would like to share: “To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on, and a way of honouring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. It is important to understand the long standing history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation. It is also worth noting that acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol.”
At the Evanston Public Library, our stated mission is “to be the heart of our diverse community by promoting the development of independent, self-confident and literate citizens, and providing equitable access to cultural, intellectual, technological, and information resources.”
For more information and resources on the Indigenous history of our area, please visit our Indigenous Resources page.