Native American group ends protest, vows to protect sacred land at Wilderness Park

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A local Native American group has said it will end its protest of a new housing development in Lincoln.

In a statement released Monday, the Niskithe Prayer Group said it will start taking down the teepees from Snell Hill on Tuesday.

The group set up the teepees in response to the Lincoln City Council approving a new housing development near Wilderness Park.

The development, which is planned for an area east of Highway 77 and south of Pioneers Boulevard, would allow for 500 homes and retail space.

On May 4, Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird announced that she would approve the rezoning after meeting with local Native American groups.

See also: Lincoln mayor will approve housing development near Wilderness Park

The plan has left many in the area with concerns about how the project will affect the environment.

See also: Lincoln City Council OKs rezoning near Wilderness Park

“Today we have better, stronger relationships with our city leaders and our community,” the prayer group’s statement says.  “We have the beginnings of a plan toward more meaningful representation of Native voices in city government, and we have a commitment from the Mayor to continue to work with us to honor our culture and protect our ceremonies.”

On Wednesday, they plan to take down the last teepee.  The teepee built by activist Leo Yankton, who is now known by his spirit name, Hoksila Luta.

The group has planned a march to take Luta’s teepee back to his home.  Marchers will also make stops at city hall and the Cathedral of the Risen Christ.

Local leaders are invited to join in the march to show a commitment to the Native American community, the press release says.

The Niskithe Prayer Group said it will continue to strive for structural change in Lincoln.

See also: Native Americans protest planned housing development near Wilderness Park

It also said it intends to pursue legal avenues to protect the sweat lodge and the sacred land at Wilderness Park.

“With our camp, we declared we are still here, we are strong, we will remain,” the group said.

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