People have lived in the Americas for thousands of years.
Within the U.S., there are 562 Native American tribes. The largest are Navajo, Cherokee and Sioux. More than 3 million people in the U.S. are Native people.
For Native people living in urban areas such as Chicago, efforts to retain cultural traditions are forged at powwows, Native Indian centers and local universities.
The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston fosters awareness of native cultures through its extensive collections and events. Laura McDowell, exhibition developer and collections manager, describes her favorite exhibit of beaded shoes -- traditional, handcrafted moccasins and a modern hand-decorated Keds version.
On June 18, a new exhibit, "Deconstructing Stereotypes," will open at the museum revealing the top 10 stereotypes as identified in a survey of Native Americans from around the U.S.
Artifacts and photos will illustrate the historic and present day issues faced by people of American Indian heritage.
Every Thursday from 5:30-7:30 p.m., a Native American flute circle performs at the museum. Participants are welcomed.
On Saturdays, museum visitors can create Native-themed crafts.
For admission times, directions and upcoming events, see the museum website at www.mitchellmuseum.org
Free admission is available to library card holders. The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is one of the 17 arts and cultural organizations participating in the Museum Adventure Pass presented by Macy's.
Up to four people can gain free entry using the pass available through participating local libraries, such as the Fremont Public Library District in Mundelein and others. Consult your local library to find out more about the Museum Adventure Pass.