Native American Illinois residents have voices heard during Springfield summit

Native Americans had their voices heard Wednesday in downstate Springfield.

For the first time, lawmakers hosted a Native American summit at the capitol.

About 50 of Illinois’ roughly 280,000 Native American citizens took part.

Discussions included the use of school mascots, Native American history taught in public schools, and the rights to wear culturally significant items.

"What we're trying to do today is not just for Native students, Native youth, but for all minority students," said Nimkii Curley, graduate of Evanston Township High School. "So that their cultural identity and their academic identity doesn't have to remain separate."


"It is really time for this country to disallow any more harm to come to native people," said Megan Bang, Nimkii’s mother.

The group also pushed for legislation recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day at the state, county, and city levels.