Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative (CAICC)


Formed in 2012, CAICC is a network of seventeen Native American organizations and programs that joined together to collectively work on improving conditions for Native Americans in the Chicago area. CPS American Indian Education program is a member of this network.



2018 CAICC Education Conference Flyer2018 UNEC Flyer

2018 Urban Indian Education Conference
Theme: Identity, Kinship, and Belonging
May 5, 2018
Northwestern University, Parkes Hall
1870 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208


Conference Description:
The organizers of this conference are situated in urban Indian Chicago, by which they mean that their focus, research, teaching, and service is working for and with American Indian people and communities in Chicagoland. With more than 70% of the Indigenous population of the U.S. living primarily in urban settings, it is clear that urban Indian education is a significant reality. We created a theme– identity, kinship, belonging – that is broad and encompassing but also allows and encourages you to relate the theme to your particular area of interest and expertise. For example, Indian identity is fraught with legal, cultural, conceptual, and regional (reservation vs. rural vs. urban?) complications that tie into issues of kinship (can clans exist off-reservation?; how do I identify as kin when I’m a guest in another Indigenous territory?), and the experience of belonging (is belonging synonymous with inclusion?; if I’m “multiracial,” to whom do I belong?). Scholars/educators proposing a single paper will be assigned to a panel by the conference organizers. We look forward to a range of proposals tackling the theme of Identity, Kinship, Belonging as relevant to urban Indian education.*

Due Date: Friday, March 9th.
For more information and for proposal guidelines, visit

*We recognize that the terminology of “Nativeness” is complicated and apologize if the terms “Native” and “Indian” are offensive to the reader. We acknowledge that our relations in Canada prefer to use the terms “First Nations” and “Aboriginal.” Where possible, we use the tribal/band/nation name of the person or group.


Join the CAICC’s Facebook group HERE

It’s inception was stirred by an overwhelming recognition that the Native community lacked cohesion, was virtually invisible in the City, and needed to develop a shared, comprehensive vision for improvement. Consequently, in March 2012, organizational representatives made a public commitment to participate in a process of change and crafted the following overarching goals to serve as its purpose statement:

1) Establish a common vision and mission for the Chicago Native American community;
2) Develop a comprehensive service and development model for the urban setting;
3) Move towards collaborative community relationships internally and externally; and
4) Promote understanding and respect for our culture and communities including the social, economic and spiritual spheres.

CAICC began its pursuit of these goals through an aggressive three-phase planning initiative involving: a community survey to identify community needs and issues; a community-wide conference with close to 200 participants to prioritize those issues; and a retreat to develop action plans for community change. These plans are now being used to guide the CAICC community change process, and a steering committee consisting of delegates from all seventeen organizations govern the Collaborative and oversee its work.
Participating organizations and programs have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that clarifies expectations and responsibilities of those in the Collaborative. This is the first time in the community’s history that such a document has been constructed and broadly endorsed. In July 2013, the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian agreed to serve as the fiscal agent for CAICC. The CAICC member organizations now recognize that there is greater power working together in collaborative fashion, and that there is enormous opportunity for change created by harnessing this power. Problematically, all of the Native organizations and programs are under-resourced with little capacity to take on additional work. Therefore, CAICC is seeking funding to cover its programmatic expenses and to hire a consultant to assist with organizing and supporting action committees, as well as to shepherd continued growth and development of CAICC to reach its full potential.

At its core, CAICC holds fast to principles of racial equity and creating a strong voice for the Native American community on issues that affect them. As a result of its work to date, the community is experiencing a heightened level of inter-organizational cooperation and planning, along with a higher level of trust, sharing of resources, and mutual support for one another.

Learn about Chicagoland’s Native history and organizations through this short video from CAICC entitled “Chicago Has Always Been Indian Country”

As part of the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative, we are asking American Indian artists, artisans, presenters, and other business professionals to fill out this form and mail to the Mitchell Museum. Your information will be compiled into a directory listing Chicago based American Indians who are willing to be available for lectures, performances, storytelling, etc.

Download the form here: CAICC Directory – interactive form 0610 2014

And mail to:

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Attn: Kathleen McDonald
3001 Central Street
Evanston, Illinois 60201