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Nebraska inches toward Indigenous People's Day

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraskans could end up celebrating the lives and culture of Native Americans every October under a bill advanced by lawmakers on Wednesday.

Lawmakers gave first-round approval to a measure to create "Indigenous People's Day" as a state holiday on the second Monday of October.

It would coincide with Columbus Day but wouldn't replace the holiday. Critics of Columbus Day have argued that the holiday's namesake, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, subjected native peoples to violence, slavery, disease and forced conversions to Christianity.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, of Lincoln, said she introduced the measure to recognize the importance of Native people. She initially sought to eliminate Columbus Day but faced push-back from members of Nebraska's Italian-American community.

The measure advanced, 43-0, through the first of three required votes. Two more are needed before it goes to the governor.

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