The ACLU of Nebraska supports Native community leaders in Lincoln who are opposing plans for Wilderness Crossing, a controversial housing development next to a large natural park and sacred ceremonial grounds.
UPDATED OCT 24, 2022
Q: WHAT’S THE LATEST?
- In August, the Indian Center, Inc. and Niskíthe Prayer Camp filed a zoning appeal with support of the ACLU of Nebraska and Big Fire Law & Policy Group.
- Before a hearing for that appeal could happen, the City of Lincoln filed a lawsuit that argues the City Board of Zoning Appeals is "without subject matter jurisdiction to hear or rule upon the issues raised in the [appeal]." The lawsuit asks a judge to issue an order that would prevent any further proceedings before the board on the appeal. This is an attempt to silence dissent, pure and simple.
- Zoning officials won't schedule a hearing for the appeal because of the city's lawsuit.
- On Oct. 21, we joined Big Fire Law & Policy Group in filing a court motion that asks the court to dismiss the city's lawsuit.
Q: HOW CAN I HELP?
Encourage officials to be responsive to Native residents’ religious, historical, cultural, and environmental concerns. Ask officials to reverse their earlier approval of the Wilderness Crossing project due to its violations of the Lincoln-Lancaster County 2050 Comprehensive Plan.
Q: WHY IS THE ACLU INVOLVED?
Officials must respect Indigenous residents and their connection with this land. The development would displace ceremonies at a nearby historic sweat lodge, threatening Indigenous community members’ ability and right to practice their religious beliefs.
- Guidance in the Lincoln-Lancaster County 2050 Comprehensive Plan says officials should actively seek engagement from historically underrepresented groups during planning and decision-making. Instead, officials disregarded clear concerns about the site’s cultural and religious significance.
- The appeal also raises environmental concerns. While the ACLU of Nebraska is not an environmental advocacy organization, we recognize that environmental matters are frequently tied to racial justice and indigenous rights.