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Nebraska inches toward creating new Native American holiday

Nebraska Unicameral
Posted at 11:12 AM, Mar 05, 2020

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraskans could end up celebrating the lives and culture of Native Americans every October under a bill advanced by lawmakers.

Lawmakers gave first-round approval to a measure to create “Indigenous People's Day" as a state holiday on the second Monday of October. It would coincide with Columbus Day but wouldn't replace the holiday. Critics of Columbus Day have argued the holiday's namesake, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, subjected native peoples to violence, slavery, disease and forced conversions to Christianity.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, of Lincoln, said she introduced the measure to recognize the importance of Native people. She initially sought to eliminate Columbus Day but faced push-back from members of Nebraska's Italian-American community.