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Indian Council Fire Records

 Collection
Identifier: Ayer-Modern-MS-Indian Council

Scope and Content of the Collection

Papers, correspondence, minutes, scrapbooks, clippings, newspapers, newsletters, photographs, and publications of the Indian Council Fire organization, a Chicago-based organization supporting educational, legislative, and social services for urban and reservation Indians.

Correspondence includes letters discussing the order of dissolution of the Indian Council Fire organization in the sixties along with legal documents. Other correspondence concerns the merger of the Indian Council Fire organization with the Indian Achievement Award Dinner. No attempt was made to separate the incoming from outgoing correspondence, but letters are arranged chronologically.

Administrative files include official documents and an incomplete run of board minutes, plus correspondence and other materials relating to the operations of planning of various programs and fundraisers.

Dates

  • 1923-1988
  • Majority of material found within 1944 - 1988

Creator

Language

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Indian Council Fire Records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Indian Council Fire Records are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

History of the Indian Council Fire

The Grand Council Fire of American Indians, later called the Indian Council Fire (ICF), was founded in 1923 by both Native American and non-Native American participants. From 1923 to 1953, the ICF assisted the Chicago Native American community with legal, education, housing, and employment matters. ICF was the first major Native American organization in Chicago and the Midwest. Many of its Native American members had been members of the Society of American Indians and other national multi-tribal organizations. During the administration of Mayor William Hale (“Big Bill”) Thompson in the late 1920s, the Indian Council Fire challenged the city of Chicago to include more accurate Native American history in school textbooks.

ICF held monthly meetings that combined entertainment and socializing from October to May each year. The organization also provided events for both its non-Native American and Native American members. Programs included the Indian Players Little Theater group, a young women’s chorus and a Native American boys’ basketball team. ICF also published a quarterly newsletter, Amerindian (1952), edited by ICF secretary Marion Gridley. This newsletter espoused an assimilationist philosophy and emphasized the importance of higher education for Native Americans. It appealed to those who modeled themselves after Carlos Montezuma—or at least his focus on gradual, voluntary assimilation—but the organization seemed out of touch and somewhat condescending to many of the Native Americans who began to trickle into Chicago during the 1940s. Nationally recognized Native Americans such as Charles Eastman, Reverend Philip Gordon, and Gertrude Bonnin regularly spoke at the monthly meetings.

In addition to providing modest social services and community youth programs, the ICF focused a great deal of attention on participating in the annual Chicago Indian Day celebration held every September since its adoption in 1919. In 1953, however, the ICF redrafted its bylaws and decided to shut down its social service program in favor of focusing solely on the Annual Indian Achievement Award, which it continued to sponsor well into the 1990s.

In 1965 the Indian Council Fire was dissolved for failure to file the 1964 annual report and pay the required fee. Although quickly reinstated, there were conflicts within the organization and previous members regarding the merger of the Indian Council Fire organization with two organizations (Indian Council Fire Publications Inc. and Indian Achievement award) started by previous ICF president, Marion E. Gridley. These conflicts are well recorded within the correspondence and position paper written by the Board of Directors of the ICF at the time.

History of the National Congress of American Indians

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was founded in 1944 and is the oldest, largest, and most representative Native American and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities. NCAI was established in response to the termination and assimilation policies the US government forced upon tribal governments in contradiction of their treaty rights and status as sovereign nations. To this day, protecting these inherent and legal rights remains the primary focus of NCAI.

History of United Native Americans, Inc.

The United Native Americans, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 1968 by Lehman L. Brightman (Creek/Sioux) to promote the progress and welfare of Native Americans, and a year later was instrumental in the creation of Cal’s first ethnic studies classes, in particular the nation’s first Native American studies program. The organization was founded by Native Americans for Native Americans and was labeled a “militant” organization because of its militant actions and for the use of its slogan “Indian Power,” which is defined as self-determination, the right to your own affairs, and to direct your own destiny.

Extent

8.3 Linear Feet (10 boxes, 3 oversize boxes, and 1 loose oversize folder)

Abstract

Papers, correspondence, scrapbooks, clippings, photographs, and publications of the Indian Council Fire, a Chicago-based organization supporting educational, legislative, and social services for urban and reservation Indians.

Organization

Papers are organized in the following series
Series 1: Administrative, 1923-1988, bulk 1944-1988
Boxes 1-4
Series 2: Financial, 1955-1982
Box 5
Series 3: Annual Indian Achievement award dinner, 1933-1987, bulk 1960-1983
Boxes 6-8
Series 4: Scrapbooks, 1966-1973
Boxes 9-11
Series 5: Photographs and Artwork, approximately 1934-1982
Box 12
Series 6: Artifacts, undated
Box 13

Collection Stack Location

3a 55 6

Provenance

Gift of Susan Powers from Marie Imm LaFrinierre, 2001; additions gift of Sharon Skolnick, 2014.

Separated Materials

The following materials have been separated from the collection for individual cataloging:
  • Indians, Eskimos and Aleuts of Alaska, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Our Indian Friends and Neighbors, published by Consolidated Tribes of American Indians (2 copies)
  • Native American Arts 1, Institute of American Indian Arts, U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board
  • We, the First Americans, U.S. Department of Commerce, Social and Economic Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census (2 copies)
  • The First Americans, American Red Cross Youth News, November, 1972
  • Then and Now, Scott, Foresman and Company, Glenview, Illinois, 1971
  • Indian American Issues: a handbook for discussion, a New Community Press, Inc.
  • Today is a good day to die: a eulogy to the American Indian, Kenny Gordon and the Sound Gathering, an original rock opera,
  • Foundation of North American Indian Culture, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Haskel Indian Junior College, Lawrence, Kansas
  • Indian Education: Steps to Progress in the 1970s, United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XI, No. 2, Spring, 1966
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XI, No. 6, Fall, 1966
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XII, No. 3, Spring, 1967
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XII, No. 4, Summer, 1967
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XII, No. 5, Fall, 1967
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XII, No. 1, Winter, 1967
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XII, No. 2, Late Winter, 1967
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XIII, No. 1, Spring, 1968
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XIII, Fall, 1968
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XIV, No. 1, Winter/Spring, 1969
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XIV, No. 2, Summer, 1969
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XIV, No. 3, Convention Issue, 1969
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, July, 1970
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, August, 1970
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, September-October, 1970
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XV, No. 1, Winter, 1970
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Vol. XIII, September/October 1971
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Winter, 1971
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, Winter, 1972
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, July-August, 1974
  • The Sentinel, National Congress of the American Indian, November, 1977
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 12, No. 3, January-February, 1964
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 15, No. 1, September-October, 1966
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 15, No. 5, May-June, 1967
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, September-October, 1967
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 2, No. 5, November-December, 1967
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 16, No. 5, May-June, 1968
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 17, No. 1, September-October, 1968
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 17, No. 2, November-December, 1968
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 17, No. 3, January-February, 1969
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 17, No. 4, March-April, 1969
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 17, No. 6, July-August, 1969
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 18, No. 1, September-October, 1969
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 18, No. 2, November-December, 1969
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 18, No. 3, January-February, 1970
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 18, No. 4, March-April, 1970
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 18, No. 5, May-June, 1970
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 18, No. 6, July-August, 1970
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 19, No. 1, September-October, 1970
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 19, No. 2, November-December, 1970
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 19, No. 3, January-February, 1971
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 19, No. 4, March-April, 1971
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 19, No. 5, May-June, 1971
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 19, No. 6, July-August, 1971
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 20, No. 2, November-December, 1971
  • The Amerindian, American Indian Review, Vol. 20, No. 3, January-February, 1971

Processed by

Analú López and Tyne Lowe, 2018.
Title
Inventory of the Indian Council Fire Records, 1923-1988, bulk 1944-1988
Status
Completed
Author
Analú López and Tyne Lowe
Date
©2018.
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts Repository

Contact:
60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States
312-255-3512