Lawmakers passed a measure, AB262, expanding access to higher education opportunities for Native students by waiving fees at all two- and four-year colleges and universities for members of tribes that are fully or partially located in Nevada or registered descendants of members of such tribes.
Advocates say it will help lift Native communities out of longstanding poverty and address economic disparities.
Amid a national reckoning over place and team names that tribes consider discriminatory and offensive, lawmakers approved a bill, AB88, eradicating such language or imagery in Nevada school names, logos or mascots — although it allows for schools to adopt names or images related to tribes with their consent.
The bill also includes a ban on any sundown siren, bell or alarm that was previously used at specific times to signal when non-white people needed to leave town. Minden is one Nevada town that still has a sundown siren that blares every day.
Two bills passed this session provide environmental protection to areas sacred to tribes and Native communities. One, AB171, protects the Rocky Mountain juniper trees known as “swamp cedars” in Spring Valley outside of Ely. The valley, sacred to the surrounding Native community, is known as Bahsahwahbee in Shoshone. Another measure, AJR3, designates Spirit Mountain, known as Avi Kwa Ame, in Southern Nevada as a national monument. The mountain is sacred to several tribes spanning across Nevada, California and Arizona.
The Legislature also passed AB103, a bill that would provide clarity to a 2017 law protecting Indian burial sites from excavation.Other measures passed include AB72, AB52, AB95 and AB54, which add Native representatives to the State Board on Geographic Names, Land Use Planning Advisory Council, Legislative Public Lands Committee and the Advisory Committee on Traffic Safety.