Chicago American Indian Youth Group Trying to Get to Washington: You Can Help

Chicago Youth

This group traveled from Chicago to New York in September for climate march

CHICAGO — Local urban youth are fundraising to make a difference in the American Indian community and Indian Country.

Formed in 2012, the Chi-Nations Youth Council has made its mission to create a safe open environment for AI youth and to promote a healthy identity through activism, education and arts.

Currently, there is a gofundme campaign for the youth council to march at Change The Name at the FedEx Stadium in Washington, DC on December 28, 2014, to speak out against the Washington football team’s name. The funding will go towards travel and lodging for the Chi-Nations and supervisors.

About an average of 25 youth, Chicago Public School and suburban high school students, have participated in this year alone, along with four adult advisors and several parent volunteers. Great strides have been made to acquaint these students with traditional practices and observance of the land and water, both in Chicago and on reservations.

“We work hard on staying connected to the land and promote the idea [that] Chicago is Native Land,” says Chi-Nations advisor Janie Pochel, Cree/Lakota. “We know our medicines and stories of Chicago.”

For the past two years, the group has fundraised money to attend the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota for their Harvest Camp during Spring Break. This year with the help of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chi-Nations students produced a 15-minute documentary about their time at Red Lake called Sacred Ones Revolution: Water is Life. (

“Our goals are to use our own voices and stories to bring attention to environmental degradation and marginalization of Native people,” says Pochel.

Chi-Nations has been played integral roles in several peaceful Chicago protests including Idle No More in 2012/13 and the March against Monsanto in 2013. In September 2014, Chi-Nations traveled to New York to participate in the People’s Climate March.

“It’s important for the youth to go to Washington in December because it will empower them to keep fighting for a better future for themselves,” says Pochel. “They will have the chance to meet Native Leaders from all over who can talk to them and tell them firsthand what it means to fight for the land and our identity.”

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