(Neb)-Bill To Put Cather And Standing Bear In Statuary Hall Advances
LINCOLN - A bill changing the 2 statues representing Nebraska in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U-S Capitol has unanimously moved to select file or second-round consideration.
Statuary Hall was established in 1864 and allows each state to have 2 statues representing important historical figures from its past. Nebraska is currently represented by J-Sterling Morton, the Father of Arbor Day, and statesman William Jennings Bryan, who ran for president 3 times.
A federal law passed in 2000 allows the states to request to change one or both their statues, and LB 807 would replace Morton with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather and Bryan with Chief Standing Bear. Private donations would be required to cover all costs.
43rd District Senator Tom Brewer of Gordon, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, spoke in favor the changes, calling Cather and Standing Bear strong representatives of Nebraska’s diverse cultural history.
Brewer emphasized that replacing Bryan and Morton after decades isn't dishonoring them, but a chance to share more of the rich history of Nebraska with those who visit Statuary Hall.
Lincoln Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, whose district includes Bryan's former home, agreed with Brewer that the change would bring the legacies of two other important Nebraskans to the forefront.
She said it would be "a really fitting tribute to Nebraska to honor both Willa Cather and Chief Standing Bear,” with Standing Bea "a statewide leader and national leader for Native Americans and therefore, for all of us.”
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