Lincoln group calls city lawsuit an ‘ill-founded attempt’ to silence Native voices

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A local Native American group is in a legal battle against the City of Lincoln over controversial development plans.

Indian Center Inc. had asked the Board of Zoning Appeals to pause the Wilderness Crossing development, which the city council approved in April.

Last month, the city filed a lawsuit against the Indian Center, saying the group was trying to overturn legislative actions made by the city council and the mayor.

And those actions would be “beyond the authority” of the appeals board, according to court documents.

On Friday, the Indian Center filed to dismiss the city’s lawsuit.

They contend that the city’s lawsuit is an “ill-founded attempt” to silence Native residents’ voice in development proceedings.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and Big Fire Law & Police Group, a Native American-owned law firm, are backing the Indian Center and Native community members that have been sued.

Kevin Abourezk, vice chairman of the Indian Center, released a statement regarding the motion to dismiss the suit.

“For too long, the voices of Lincoln’s Indigenous people have been neglected and ignored,” he said.  “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.”

Back in April, the Lincoln City Council voted to rezone an area near Wilderness Park to build a 500-home development.

The contentious plan has seen backlash from other Native groups, including the Niskithe Prayer Camp.

SEE ALSO: ‘We’re going to continue to fight this’: Native group in legal battle with City of Lincoln

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