FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LINCOLN, NE 5/9/2022 – The Niskíthe Prayer Camp has issued the following statement to update the community on where we stand.
Statement: Where we stand
Today we begin the second week of our peaceful occupation of the land. Niskíthe Prayer Camp started as an act of resistance in the face of erasure and exclusion, as a way to demand the dignity and freedoms promised to all Americans. By raising our tipis and establishing our camp, we said emphatically, “We are still here. We are strong. And we will remain.” We will continue to honor these intentions by remaining on the land and practicing our ceremonies here.
In the past week, we established relationships and initiated dialogues with elected officials at City Hall. Though some of these relationships show promise, we have yet to receive any tangible protections for our sweat lodge or the Fish Farm property, nor a plan for meaningful representation of Native people in local government. We did not come for a land acknowledgment. A promise for continued dialogue is not enough. The transformative justice work must begin and the structures of our government need to change.
Additionally, we are calling on Bishop James Conley and the Catholic Diocese of Lincoln to recognize their responsibility in this matter, that they have a central role to play in protecting our ceremonial site, and that they still have the power to take decisive moral action towards that end. We call on the Bishop and the Diocese to bring us to the table with the Manzitto brothers, to break or renegotiate their existing contract, and write a new one that does not amount to cultural genocide, one that will allow all parties to co-exist on this land. Contracts can be broken, and the financial consequences that the Diocese would incur is nothing compared to the debt they owe to Native peoples for centuries of persecution that has led to the loss of lives, languages, ceremony, and identity.
From our allies of the Christian faith we understand that Jesus has many teachings on matters such as this.
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:12-13)
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[a] you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:40)
And so again we ask for respect, for engagement, for good faith dialogue, and to be brought to the table with the Manzitto Brothers to find a solution to this issue that will serve us all.
Until we receive protections for the sacred Inipi established by Chief Leonard Crow Dog, which sits on the land known as the Fish Farm and offers healing to so many in our community, we will remain on this land.
We ask our allies to continue to advocate on our behalf to city leaders that protections be put in place for our sweat lodge, and that efforts toward greater representation by Native Americans in our local government begin immediately. We also ask that their advocacy extends to the Catholic Diocese of Lincoln and Manzitto, requesting that they honor our request to be brought to the table, and for protections to be established.
We extend our deepest gratitude to our supporters and our allies. Thank you for supporting us, hearing us, and seeing us. We ask you to continue to stand with us as the struggle continues.
Wopila. WibthahoN. Wado.
Niskíthe Prayer Camp
For Inquiries please reach out to Erin Poor, 402-601-6642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.