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Highlighted by Indigenous People’s Day Celebration Plans Sculpture Unveiling, Flag Dedication and Powwow Exhibition

Lincoln, NE (September 27, 2021) The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs (NCIA) will hold ceremonies on October 11, to honor the State’s 1st official Indigenous People’s Day observance. The observance was enacted into law through legislation introduced by State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks and passed by the Legislature in 2020.

“On behalf of the NCIA Board of Commissioners, I thank Senator Brewer and Senator Pansing-Brooks on their
efforts to introduce legislation that ultimately led to Indigenous People’s Day being recognized by the State of
Nebraska,” stated NCIA Board Chair, Larry Wright, Jr.  “This day recognizes and brings attention to our people who called this place home long before statehood. Thename of our state in and of itself is based on indigenous language. This day celebrates contributions like this and others that our ancestors were such an integral part of. It celebrates our Indigenous people today that call this state home and their contributions.”

“For the first time, Nebraska will celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an official state holiday,” Senator Pansing
Brooks said. “This new holiday presents a tremendous opportunity to honor the humanity and contributions of
our First People to the State of Nebraska. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a day to reflect on our past as well as a day
to challenge ourselves to build a brighter and more inclusive future for all our people.”

“The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs has done a fantastic job planning our First Indigenous Peoples’ Day
and fulfilling our vision when I brought the bill creating this holiday. I am excited to be part of this first
celebration, including the unveiling of the glorious Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte sculpture. I look forward to
celebrating this day annually.”

Tribal Flag Dedication

The day’s events will begin with a 9:30 a.m. tribal flag dedication ceremony in the State Capitol.
Leadership of the four tribes will participate in this ceremony that will take place in the Warner Chamber on the
second floor of the state capitol, and feature comments by State Senators Patty Pansing Brooks, Tom Brewer and
Nebraska tribal leaders. As mandated by Nebraska Legislative Bill 848, the flags of the four federally recognized
Nebraska tribes (Omaha, Ponca, Santee Sioux and Winnebago) will then be placed in the Chamber for permanent
display. The dedication ceremony will also feature an honor song and tribal color guard procession.

State Senator Tom Brewer who introduced the flag amendment commented, “As our state’s first Native American
State Senator, I was proud to introduce the amendment to the Indigenous Peoples Day bill adding the placement
of the tribal flags in the historic Warner Chamber. With Indigenous Peoples Day, we recognize the history, the
culture and the people with a day, however with the addition of the tribal flags in the State Capitol we will also
add a permanent and year round recognition of the tribes as sovereign nations within our state.”

Senators Brooks and Brewer will then host an open to the public reception in the first floor State Capitol cafeteria
and courtyard immediately following the ceremony.

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte Sculpture Unveiling and Dedication

A sculpture created by world-renowned artist Benjamin Victor honoring trailblazing Native American physician
Susan La Flesche Picotte will be unveiled and dedicated at an event on Heritage Plaza on Centennial Mall between
L and M Streets at 11:00 a.m. The piece, which was commissioned and gifted to the city by long time Lincoln community advocate Larry Small, will be situated on the plaza near the Scottish Rite building. Small stated that he wants the sculpture to educate viewers about Dr. La Flesche Picotte with a strong emotional feel that leads people to want to learn more about the historic figure. “When public art is done right by an artist such as Ben Victor,” Small remarked, “the history and
the art, mixed with emotion, bring a synergy to the viewer and WOW, you feel it.”

The journey of creating a sculpture that encompasses Dr. La Flesche’s legacy has been both “humbling and lifechanging,” stated artist Benjamin Victor. “One cannot overstate the intelligence, work ethic, fortitude, selflessness, and compassion of Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte.”

The sculpture dedication will start with a traditional Cedar Ceremony and will include comments by U.S.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, Omaha Tribal Chairman Everett Baxter, Jr., University of Nebraska Chancellor Ronnie
Green, State Senators Tom Brewer and Patty Pansing Brooks, Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird, donor Larry Small and
artist Benjamin Victor.

Powwow Exhibition and Public Reception

A short Powwow exhibition hosted by the Omaha tribe will immediately follow the dedication event. The Omaha
tribe is encouraging all tribes to participate, bring dancers and drum groups. This exhibition will take place on the
mall immediately to the north of the sculpture dedication. The exhibition will be immediately followed by a public
Nebraska Indigenous People’s Day reception at 1:00 p.m. in the Scottish Rite building located immediately behind
the sculpture.


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