The Chicago Global Indigeneity Project is working to cultivate intergenerational learning opportunities to support Indigenous knowledge, identities, and practices. This project utilizes co-design to identify community-desired learning opportunities, design youth and family programs, and measure learning and change in the community. A central design goal has been the creation of intentional spaces to connect elders, youth, and families in traditional practices and especially storytelling and making. The design team has approached this as creating ecologies and pathways that support and teach younger community members to become elders.
Beginning in Phase 1, the Global Indigeneity Project has brought together partners from the Aloha Center Chicago, American Indian Center, the Native American Support Program at the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. As an urban and inter-tribal community, this collaborative aims to build solidarities across multiple Indigenous communities.
A powerful metaphor, “bending the river,” emerged from this collaborative. Bending the river is about honoring the past in order to imagine and generate possible futures for systemic transformation in solidarity across multi-tribal peoples. The group utilized a process called the “River of Life” that enabled them to engage in transformative social remembering and healing from historical forms of settler-colonialism. It also enabled them to socially dream, focused on cultural and community vibrancy, in order to adaptively resist ongoing challenges to self-determination.