Bill to create Native American holiday advanced

A bill that would make the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day in Nebraska advanced from select file July 30.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks
Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks

LB848, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, would add Indigenous Peoples’ Day to the established Columbus Day holiday.

The bill was amended on general file to include provisions of Pansing Brooks’s LB849, which extend eligibility for the Bridge to Independence Program to Native American youth who have reached the age of majority under tribal law.

Gordon Sen. Tom Brewer introduced an amendment during select file debate, adopted 38-0, that added provisions of his LB937. The amendment would require the display of flags of Nebraska’s four federally recognized Native American tribes—the Omaha, Ponca, Santee Sioux and Winnebago—in the ceremonial Warner Chamber of the State Capitol.

Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte offered an amendment that would have stricken Indigenous Peoples’ Day from the bill, essentially leaving the Columbus Day holiday to stand alone.

Groene said the state already recognizes American Indian Day in late September, and said it would be “belittling” to Native Americans to have a shared holiday.

“Columbus Day is Columbus Day,” Groene said. “You can like the man or not like the man but what he did was equivalent to landing on the moon.”

The amendment failed 6-25.

Lawmakers advanced LB848 to final reading by voice vote.

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