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North Omaha mourns passing of Native Omaha Days co-founder, Bettie McDonald

Posted at 8:45 PM, Feb 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 13:33:27-05
  • Video shows photos of Bettie McDonald and her acknowledgments for her leadership.
  • Magnolia Holland, the niece of co-founder, Bettie McDonald shares the impact her aunt Bettie had on the community, and what's to come for Native Omaha Days.
  • Native Omaha Days is a biennial event in North Omaha, Nebraska celebrating the community's historical and cultural legacies.


Every other year, thousands of Native Omahans return to the streets of north Omaha for a chance to reunite and celebrate. 
The last co-founder of the Native Omaha Days festival has passed away but the celebration of Omaha will continue.  

“Everyone that is born and raised in north Omaha, comes back together every 2 years and celebrate the coming of home,” said Magnolia Holland.

Magnolia Holland, the niece of Bettie McDonald, one of the co-founders of Native Omaha Days, sat down with me to talk about the role her Aunt Bettie played in north Omaha.

“She was of service for our community for over 50 years. So this is her award for being the co-founder, that’s the congressional, and here are some pictures of her in the parades for Native Omaha,” said Holland

Bettie McDonald’s roots in Nebraska goes back 107 years. The Bryant-Fisher family has celebrated their ties to Nebraska for decades. With the loss of 95-year-old McDonald, some community members plan to continue the celebration in her honor.

"There will be a loss to the community because she will not be with us.. her spirit will be with us,” said Dr. Viv L. Ewing, the President and CEO of Children's Square.

“She will be missed but her legacy will be continued you know with the native Omaha days,” said Eric L. Ewing, the executive director of the Great Plains Black History Museum.

The Native Omaha Days parade has been bring Omahans together since the 1970s. The next celebration will happen in 2025.