Urban Indian group recognizes longtime leader
The Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition honored Robert O’Brien, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, for his service to the organization.

O’Brien was born in 1931, in an orphanage in Minnesota. He was told he was Irish and didn't discover his true Indian heritage until he was 62.

But by that time, he had already been involved with the Indian community. He served on the Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition board of directors and watched as the group's budget grew to $2 million and established key programs.

“That’s really all I wanted to do; for so long, we had heard people complaining and bringing up charts and graphs and showing how Indian health was the worst in the country. Everybody talked about how bad it was. … (I thought,) let’s get in there and do something instead of sitting on our butts and complaining," O'Brien told Indian Country Today.

O'Brien retired in 2006. He was presented with his lifetime service award on June 20.

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Native orphan recognized and honored (Indian Country Today 7/18)

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