The Historical Society of Forest Park is preparing a land acknowledgement statement, recognizing the Native people who originally populated what is now the village, and is asking for the public to be part of the process.
The Kickapoo, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Potawatomi, Myaamia and Ochethi Sakowin all populated the land once known as Oak Ridge, long before the arrival of white settlers in the 19th century, and the land acknowledgement statement seeks to recognize and respect that history.
In an email newsletter sent last week, the historical society explained the purpose of such statements — to provide “a sense of [the community’s] full history, to respect the people who had lived and still live on the land, and to “prevent erasure” of Native history. The group released the following acknowledgement:
“Forest Park is located on the aboriginal homelands of several tribal nations: the Kickapoo, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Potawatomi, Myaamia, and Ochethi Sakowin. We acknowledge the painful forced removal of these people from their ancestral lands by European settlers. We commit to building relationships with descendants of these tribal nations who still live among us and to sharing the history and contributions of native peoples within the Forest Park community.”
The historical society is also asking residents to provide public feedback on the statement via the group’s website, forestparkhistory.org/land-acknowledgement.html Comments must be submitted before Dec. 1.