PORTER, Ind. (March 16, 2023) – Hoosiers will soon experience a new Indigenous Cultural Trail located at the gateway to the Indiana Dunes if this crowdfunding campaign reaches its goal of raising $50,000 by May 16, 2023. If successful, the project led by Indiana Dunes Tourism will receive a matching grant as part of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s (IHCDA) CreatINg Places program.
“The Indiana Dunes are the pride of our state, and the addition of an Indigenous Cultural Trail to this wonderful national park will further engage and educate visitors from around the country," said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana's Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “This campaign is the essence of the CreatINg Places initiative, blending the respect of the past with a vision for the future.”
More than just a hiking trail, the interactive experience will weave Indigenous cultures with the natural ecology of the Indiana Dunes, one of the most biodiverse areas in the country. The team working on the new trail includes Indiana Dunes Tourism, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and the Indiana Dunes National Park. They aim to elevate Indigenous voices and tell their stories of the past and present. Organizers are working together to share Indigenous languages and perspectives in a big way—through stories and sculptures along the new Indiana Dunes Indigenous Cultural Trail. The trail will feature a fire pit, murals of native animals, a tree trail, colorful crosswalks, a larger-than-life limestone sculpture of a turtle and interpretive signage.
"The response to the Indiana Dunes Indigenous Trail concept has been overwhelmingly positive. Visitors and locals are looking forward to seeing the trail develop,” said Christine Livingston, Vice President of Indiana Dunes Tourism. “The Indiana Dunes Visitor Center welcomed nearly 200,000 people to the dunes last year. Having the trail located here will elevate Indigenous voices in the Indiana Dunes and introduce thousands to this important part of our story."
"With the development of the trail, visitors and residents will be able to relate better to the tribes of the Indiana Dunes area," said Dr. Jennifer Kanine of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. "The Pokagon Band looks forward to the day the tribal flag is flown in front of the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, signifying the culmination of collaborative work amongst diverse stakeholders."
The CreatINg Places program began in 2016, projects have raised more than $7.5 million in public funds and an additional $6.3 million in matching IHCDA funds. The program is available to projects located in Indiana communities. Non-profit entities (with 501c3 or 501c4 status) and Local Units of Government are eligible to apply. Eligible projects must have a minimum total development cost of $10,000, where the recipient will receive $5,000 in IHCDA matching funds should it successfully raise $5,000 through Patronicity. IHCDA will provide matching grant funds up to $50,000 per project.