Media Contact

Sam Petto, ACLU of Nebraska Communications Director

October 24, 2022

Three tipis stand at the Niskíthe Prayer Camp.

LINCOLN, Neb. – A new court motion asks the Lancaster County District Court to dismiss the City of Lincoln’s lawsuit against the Indian Center, Inc., and Native residents who are trying to appeal controversial plans for a housing development next to sacred ceremonial grounds.

The City of Lincoln sued the organization and individuals last month, asking a judge to prevent any City Board of Zoning Appeals proceedings on their appeal of the Wilderness Crossing development plans and arguing the board lacks the jurisdiction to rule on the issues raised in the appeal.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nebraska and Big Fire Law & Policy Group are representing the Indian Center, Inc., along with the sued Native community members.

Advocate Kevin Abourezk made this statement on the filing:

“For too long, the voices of Lincoln’s Indigenous people have been neglected and ignored. The City of Lincoln’s latest efforts to muzzle our voices by attempting to deny us access to the same process of appeals afforded any other affected citizen won’t be tolerated. We are here. We will remain, and we won’t be silenced anymore.”

ACLU of Nebraska Senior Legal and Policy Counsel Rose Godinez made this statement on the filing:

“The City of Lincoln is trying to take away Native advocates’ voice in this process, but the law is on our side. The Lincoln City Charter and Municipal Code are clear – our clients have the right to appeal the Wilderness Crossing development plans, as any other city resident can. We are hopeful for a positive outcome that will end this unreasonable lawsuit and let advocates finally make their case before zoning officials. They have a right to be heard.”