Omaha Tribe seeks money over UNL language course

Lincoln, Nebraska (AP) July 2010

The Omaha Tribe is seeking 10 percent of the University of Nebraska Foundation’s 1.2 billion endowment campaign over what it sees as an unapproved use of its culture in the classroom.

A letter to the foundation from the Omaha Tribal Historical Research Project says tribe should be compensated for profits the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is getting from a course on the Omaha language.

Professor Mark Awakuni-Swetland has been teaching the course since 1999. He says he had the tribe’s support for the course when it was introduced.

The letter says Awakuni-Swetland’s research was false and his appointment another example of institutional racism.

UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman wrote in a Lincoln Journal Star commentary that Awakuni-Swetland has done nothing wrong.