“The district submitted a resolution to the city, recommending that the site be named after Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte, a 19th-century Omaha doctor recognized as the first Native American to earn a medical degree.
Then on July 6, the city announced it would take public suggestions for naming the park. It received about 200 suggestions.
Although the NRD’s resolution was nonbinding, the city’s decision to seek other names was still a surprise, member Jim Thompson said.
“It’s a $44 million project,” Thompson said. “The city didn’t build it, we did. We did all the work. I kind of think they owe it to us.”
Fellow board member Larry Bradley echoed Thompson.
“After the NRD did all the heavy lifting to create the lake, the city snubbed the NRD’s request,” Bradley said.”
“Thompson came up with the idea for naming the park after Picotte after reading an article about her life.
Picotte graduated from medical school in 1889. She turned down job offers in big cities and returned to Nebraska, where she was the only doctor treating Omaha Indian patients.
Thompson and Bradley have shared their suggestion of naming the new park after Picotte with tribal elders in the area.
“Some of these elders want to know why, after the NRD wished to name the lake after Susan La Flesche Picotte, the city seemed to ignore that request and put it out for a naming contest,” Bradley said.”