From Kevin Abourezk of the Lincoln Journal Star:
FREMONT, Neb. – A tribe once led by a chief who won his freedom by telling his prosecutors his blood was the same color as theirs elected its first woman leader Tuesday.
“I love it that girls out there everywhere will know that they can accomplish goals,” said Rebecca White, the new chairwoman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. “They can accomplish anything if they put their minds to it.”
With 194 votes, White defeated Mark Peniska Jr. of Lincoln, who got 186 votes, and Robin Bair of Wagner, S.D., who got 84.
Outgoing Chairman Larry Wright Jr. of Lincoln was unable to seek re-election after serving two terms – the limit for the position.
Traditionally, men have led the tribe. Those leaders have included Chief Standing Bear, who made history in 1879 after being declared a person before the law during a trial in which the U.S. government tried to prosecute him for leaving his tribe’s Oklahoma reservation.
The tribe lost its federal recognition in the 1960s but regained it in 1990.