One early morning on a hot summer day in the year of 2016 something mysterious happened in Chicago. Seemingly out of thin air a young woman and a man appeared at the parking lot on the corner of Harrisson and Wells. They quickly blocked off the space next to the building with yellow tape and traffic cones.

None of the chance witnesses could explain later where the heavy duty aerial man lift crane came from. All they saw is the couple standing inside the crane platform and painting the building wall high above the ground. They were chatting loudly in French, so nobody dared to ask what the hell they were up to.

They disappeared mysteriously as they appeared. Just gone. But what was the soresight of ugly brick wall of the eight story building next to the parking lot became an art object. Now we have a gigantic painting of a long haired man in rugged clothes squinting his eyes and looking up at the spire of nearby Sears Tower. The man is so big that it seemed like he wasn’t just painted on the wall. Instead it looks like he is sitting uncomfortably inside of a tight box framed by the edges of the wall.

French artist signed their creation with cryptic ELLA&PITR. Later, on social media, they gave the mural the title “The Native American lost in Chicago… Dreamin’…”

Oh, you may say, that’s what it is about. The Native American, a ghost from the past, is looking in awe at the splendor of our modern civilization. I wouldn’t be so sure. There are way too many layers in this onion.

What if I tell you that the land that is now Illinois and Missouri was home to one of the biggest civilizations in North America. Comparable to Maya civilization in Mesoamerica. The historians call it now the Mississippian culture and it happened in a period about 1000-1500 AD, coinciding with the Middle Ages in the history of Europe.

There were bustling metropolises surrounded with farmlands full with maze and squash. One of the largest cities we call now Cahokia was bigger in size and population than the city of London at that time. Skilled tradesmen, artisans and even astronomers lived there. The city of Cahokia was located across the Mississippi River from today’s St Louis. But all you can find there now is the large earth mounds, the only evidence that the city ever existed.

The civilization strived for five centuries and then mysteriously disappeared leaving no written text and very few artifacts. We don’t even know now what language people spoke. They just vanished.

Civilizations come and go. Disappear without a trace. Who knows, one day Chicago may turn to dust and be forgotten forever.