Recent Achievements Unveiled

Explore the Significance of Three Key Bills Recently Enacted

HB1633 – Native American Curriculum

This bill was developed and championed by the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative (CAICC) in conjunction with Representative Maurice West (D-24).  It is a multi-faceted piece of legislation that:

  1. Mandates Native American history be taught K-12
  2. Ensures Native American history includes the topics of sovereignty and self-determination along with focus on Urban Indians
  3. Adds a seat for a a Native American on the State Education Equity Commission
  4. Includes the Native American experience in the study of the Holocaust and Genocide

In conjunction with this effort, the Illinois State Board of Education has established an Inclusive History Working Group where instructional materials and resources are being developed in consultation with the American Indian Community.

Beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, every public elementary school and high school social studies course pertaining to American history or government shall include in its curriculum a unit of instruction studying the events of the Native American experience and Native American history within the Midwest and this State since time immemorial.

These events shall include the contributions of Native Americans in government and the arts, humanities, and sciences, as well as the contributions of Native Americans to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of their own nations and of the United States.

The unit of instruction must describe large urban Native American populations in this State, including the history and experiences of contemporary Native Americans living in this State.

Instruction in grades 6 through 12 shall include the study of the genocide of and discrimination against Native Americans, as well as tribal sovereignty, treaties made between tribal nations and the United States, and the circumstances around forced Native American relocation.

SB1446 – School Dress Code Policy

The genesis of this bill started when a community high school student was denied receipt of his diploma because he was wearing cultural items and attire that were gifts from his father and grandfather.  This was an intensely traumatic experience for the family.

As a result, the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative (CAICC) worked with Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-24) to develop and introduce legislation so that this will not happen to any other family.  The bill states:

By no later than July 1, 2024, the State Board of Education shall make available to schools resource materials developed in consultation with stakeholders regarding a student wearing any articles of clothing or items that have cultural or religious significance to the student if those articles of clothing or items are not obscene or derogatory toward others and the right of a student to wear or accessorize the student’s graduation attire with items associated with the student’s cultural or ethnic identity or any protected characteristic or category identified in subsection (Q) of Section 1-103 of the Illinois Human Rights Act, including but not limited to, Native American items of cultural significance.

HB3413 – Human Remains Protection Act

For decades, Illinois has failed to return Native American remains and belongings to their communities despite a federal law mandating states to do so.  Illinois has the second-largest collection of unrepatriated Native American remains in the U.S., housed at the Illinois State Museum

House Bill 3413 expedites the process in which the Department of Natural Resources would identify, examine and repatriate Native American remains, creating a procedure in which the state would consult with affiliated tribal nations and increase IDNR’s control in the process.

This legislation creates a process of reburying and repatriating Native American remains and any funerary objects recovered from those graves. It will also establish a Native American Review Group containing the thirty tribes with historic roots in the state – essentially, the descendants of those buried in Illinois – to coordinate these efforts. The bill also creates a designated cemetery in the state not accessible to the public where remains can be buried respectfully and with honors.

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, a federally recognized Native American tribe in Kansas with historic ties to Illinois, advocated in favor of the bill.  Rep. Mark Walker, (D-53) was the primary sponsor.