Nebraska tribes celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day at Capitol

Nebraska tribes held a flag dedication ceremony at the state Capitol in Lincoln on Monday...
Nebraska tribes held a flag dedication ceremony at the state Capitol in Lincoln on Monday morning, Oct. 11, 2021, in celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day.(Leigh Waldman / WOWT)
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 10:11 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Leaders of Nebraska’s four Native American tribes dedicated their flags Monday in a ceremony at the state Capitol celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The songs of native people echoed throughout the Warner Legislative Chamber on what can only be described as an historic day in Nebraska.

“Today, Nebraska joins a growing list of states and cities across the nation that are celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks said.

Brooks and State Sen. Tom Brewer led the ceremonies today on the first Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the state. The bill they championed was signed into law last November.

From this day forward, four flags representing the four native tribes headquartered in the state will forever stand in the state Capitol, finally giving Nebraska’s Omaha, Ponca, Santee Sioux, and Winnebago tribes representation.

“We are celebrating this opportunity to put our flags here in the capitol. But I also think we need to celebrate the success that we’ve had as peoples over the last few years because we have made great strides,” Senator Brewer of District 43 said.

During Monday’s ceremony, leaders from the four Nebraska tribes spoke about the significance of the state’s recognition.

“Never have I seen a day like this at such magnitude where indigenous people were honored and I’m very proud to be a part of this,” Omaha Tribal Chairman Everett Baxter Jr. said.

“These flags represent our tribal nations, our sovereign tribal nations, and the government-to-government relationship that we have with the federal government through treaties in this country,” Larry Wright Jr., chairman of the Ponca Tribe.

“The significance of this is that we’re honoring the culture, we’re revealing the history and the contemporary significance is that we’re still here. We have a voice, and we have a story to tell and that we’re in control of that narrative,” Winnebago Tribal Chairwoman Victoria Kitcheyan added.

Following the dedication, the Winnebago Tribe was planning a Powwow Exhibition in the second-floor rotunda following by a small reception hosted by Brewer and Pansing Brooks.

The new Nebraska law says Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day will be celebrated on the second Monday of October each year.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts was not in attendance at the ceremony “due to another commitment,” according to his spokesman. “The Indian Affairs Commission declined an offer to include the lieutenant governor.”

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