Native Americans in Illinois make their needs known in Springfield

Stories and examples of Native American culture filled the state Capitol Wednesday. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – Native American groups made their concerns known during what was described as a first-of-its kind summit with state lawmakers at the Capitol Wednesday.

The most prominent topic at a news conference – which featured a traditional chant – was the story of Nimkii Curley, whom Evanston Township High School kept off the graduation stage because he added an eagle feather and necklace to his cap and gown.

Other subjects of interest to the Native American nations:

  • Use of Native American mascots
  • Native American education/history in schools
  • Increased support for Native Americans in urban areas
  • Renaming Columbus day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day
  • Native American adoptions within the Indian Child Welfare Act that is currently in front of the Supreme Court in Haaland v Brackeen

Dave Dahl can be reached at


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…