The Center for Great Plains Studies and its Reconciliation Rising Project will host a special proclamation day and homecoming ceremony for the Otoe-Missouria Nation at 10 a.m. Sept. 21. Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird will proclaim Sept. 21 Otoe-Missouria Day and welcome members of the tribal nation back to their ancestral homelands.
The proclamation represents a step in fostering greater education and awareness about the Indigenous people who lived in what is now Lincoln and Lancaster County and in promoting reconciliation between the city and the Otoe-Missouria Nation. Margaret Jacobs, director of the Center for Great Plains Studies, co-founded Reconciliation Rising with local Lakota journalist Kevin Abourezk in 2018 to further reconciliation efforts between Natives and non-Natives.
More than 50 individuals associated with the Otoe-Missouria Nation are expected to attend. That will include Christina Goodson, who has helped with organization of the Sept. 21 event.
“I feel that this is a full circle moment, not just for our tribe as a whole, but for many of us as individuals,” Goodson said. “For some this will be their first time ever being in this place we called home.”
Prior to settlers coming to Lincoln and the surrounding area, 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 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.
The Center for Great Plains Studies is located at 1155 Q St. in downtown Lincoln. The ceremony is open to the public and will be available online.