Chicago First Nations Garden in Albany Park vandalized

Stephanie Wade Image
Saturday, May 11, 2024
Chicago First Nations Garden vandalized
The Chi-Nations Youth Council's Chicago First Nations Garden in Albany Park was vandalized this week at Wilson Avenue and Pulaski Road.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- On Tuesday, the Chi-Nations Youth Council realized their First Nations Garden in Albany Park was vandalized.

Their wigwam, a sacred space they use as a teaching lodge and to hold Native American ceremonies, was damaged and the items inside were stolen.

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"The valuable stuff is just gone," Chi-Nations Garden Manager Janie Pochel said. "We noticed all of our things were missing. We noticed the hole in the fence, but we didn't know we got robbed, also."

People have been lending helping hands on Saturday to restore the site at West Wilson Avenue and North Pulaski Road.

"It's a nice day outside to work..." volunteer Aaron Young said. "I just wanted to offer some help to actually get it back up and running and working, because I think the community is really important and I think it would be really great if a lot of people came out to help these people and to know that they have a lot of people on their side."

The destruction added up to thousands of dollars in needed repairs for an outdoor area for Native people to gather.

"Just to have this space, grow our food, grow our medicine and also invite the people of Chicago to learn about native people," Pochel said.

She can't imagine why anyone would want to desecrate their most sacred area.

"It was really hard to take..." Pochel said. "We kind of felt defeated and that's when we decided to ask for community support."

They've received support from about a dozen nearby residents, dedicating their Saturday afternoon to help rebuild the space.

"We think it's really important to rally around our neighbors and support where we can." said Grace Patino with The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Oppression

The community came together to clean up the mess and restore the ceremonial garden to its honorable condition.

"We are not going to stop doing what we're doing and we're asking for the love and support of the community," Pochel said.