Indian Land Dancing

"Indian Land Dancing" is a public art work displayed on the walls of the Lake Shore Drive underpass at Foster Avenue in the Edgewater neighborhood. The mosaic is based on the poem "Indian Land Dancing" by E. Donald Eddy Two-Rivers (Ojibwe).1 Dedicated on August 22, 2009, it is the largest direct-method mosaic and the only public art work designed by the indigenous peoples of the Americas in Chicago. The mosaic was developed in collaboration with artists Tracy Van Duinen, Todd Osborne and Cynthia Weiss from the Chicago Public Art Group.2

1. Inspiration

The idea for the art work was founded on the poem of the same title published byE. Donald Eddy Two-Rivers.

Heritage and Poem. Credit: Cynthia Weiss

Rice picking time:
canoes, adventure, brown-faced cousins.
Laughter pierces afternoon heat.
Boys at play; men at labor.
Venison treats and bannock too.

Events spiral to memories,
linking lives to time and history.
Culprit children frenzied with imagination sticks
stir small hands to mock battle,
moments in a green galaxy
of ferns and cedar and pine trees.

Drums caress the night air,
voices ring over hills and valleys.
Ceremonial jingle dresses, flutter of shawls.
The fancy dancer twirls, dips to earth, and flies.
He dances east, west, south, and north
paying respective homage with a lively step.

It was rice picking time:
I thought all of Indian land danced,
Hands on curvy hips, black braids bouncing.
Their reflections dance on water's top.
A young boy, I thought
all of Indian land was dancing.


2. Dedication

Then Alderperson Toni Preckwinkle presided over the dedication of the mosaic on August 22, 2009. 


(A short movie of the dedication ceremony)

3. Gallery

Artist Todd Osborne. Credit: Lauren Weinberg

North Wall. Credit: Jim Bartholomew

Smiling Skull on South Wall. Credit: Edward Gervain


  1. Lane, Clare (5 June 2009). "Vast mural will depict Chicago's Indian roots," Chicago Tribune.
  2. Bartholomew, Jim (3 June 2010). "Indian Land Dancing," Connecting the Windy City.
  3. Weinberg, Laura (19 July 2009). "Lake Shore Thrives: The Chicago Public Art Group brightens the Foster Avenue underpass," Timeout Chicago.