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Otoe-Missouria Day

Proclamation and ceremony

Date: Time: 10:00 am–11:30 am
Center for Great Plains Studies
1155 Q St.
Lincoln NE 68588
Directions: 11th and Q streets
Contact: Katie Nieland, (402) 472-3965, knieland2@unl.edu
Lincoln mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird will proclaim Sept. 21 Otoe-Missouria Day and welcome members of the tribal nation back to their ancestral homelands at a special ceremony at 10 a.m. on Sept. 21 at the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1155 Q St.

The Proclamation represents a major first step in fostering greater education and awareness about the Indigenous peoples who lived in present-day Lincoln and Lancaster County and in promoting reconciliation between the city and the Otoe-Missouria nation.

Prior to colonization of the land surrounding Lincoln, Neb., people from many Indigenous nations hunted along Salt Creek and its tributaries and harvested salt from its deposits. By 1714, the Otoes had settled in a village on the Salt Creek tributary of the Platte River in what is now eastern Nebraska. In 1798, their relatives the Missourias joined them there. The Otoe-Missouria nation signed two treaties with the U.S. government on Sept. 21, 1833 and March 15, 1854 that ceded the lands that became the city of Lincoln and the University of Nebraska. The Otoe-Missouria moved in 1854 to the Big Blue reservation near Beatrice, but Congress sold their land from under them and removed them to Indian Territory in 1880 and 1881.

“I feel that this is a full circle moment, not just for our tribe as a whole, but for many of us as individuals. For some this will be their first time ever being in this place we called home,” said Christina Goodson, part of the organizing team from the Otoe-Missouria Nation.

189 years after the Otoe-Missouria signed their first treaty, Mayor Gaylor Baird will formally welcome the Otoe-Missouria home and proclaim Sept. 21 Otoe-Missouria day to acknowledge that the city is on the Otoe-Missouria’s nation’s ancestral lands and to thank the Otoe-Missouria and other Indigenous caretakers of this land.

“This is a significant step in moving our city and the University of Nebraska into a new, respectful relationship with one of the Indigenous nations that were forced to leave their homelands,” said Kevin Abourezk, co-director of the Reconciliation Rising Project and one of the organizers from Lincoln.

“My hope for this proclamation and everything that comes along with it is that in 10 years or so when the 200th year since our removal comes along, we will have somewhere and something to return to,” Goodson said.

The Center for Great Plains Studies is located at 1155 Q St. in downtown Lincoln, Neb. The ceremony is open to the public and will be live-streamed at https://ianrmedia.unl.edu/live-2.

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