Streeter Place is best known for its 8-foot bronze statue of neighborhood namesake George Wellington “Cap” Streeter, public art that has become a tour-bus favorite. The statute was created by Dennis Downes pictured to the left in the above photo. Pictured to the right is movie producer Gary Donatelli.
Dennis Downes with Andrew Johnson (the Executive Director of the American IndianCenter of Chicago) at the April 26th, 2014—Crow Island Woods Park Tribal Council Circle Event in Winnetka, Illinois.
This event involved the actual shaping of a 180 foot diameter counsel circle using oak trees, some of which came from actual acorns from trail marker trees that were saved by the community.
Mr. Downes discusses one of the last council circles which is still living in his book. The purpose of this council circle was to help tie the citizens of Winnetka to the American Indian Center and as the trees themselves grow his hope is that the bond between the American Indians of this area will grow with the people of Winnetka.
Here is the actual news clipping of the event:
Dennis Downes has spent a lifetime learning about trail marker trees as well as the heritage and history of them. His deep respect for the Native American heritage and his life long passion for trail marker trees has led him down as interesting a path as the trees themselves guided Native Americans down long before GPS and maps were the norm in North America.
For the native Indians, trail marker trees let people know where the best landmarks. In some cases, the trees were bent in a way to stand out. Trail marker trees generally were extremely unique trees that stood out so that travelers would know where they were when they spotted them.
It was a very creative means of communication and way to find needed materials for survival as the trees pointed people in the direction of things like water or copper. Many of the trail marker trees still exist today and stand as a great testament to the skill and resourceful of those who came before us.