Health | Opinion

Editorial: Ponca Tribe makes strides in boosting health service






The Fred LeRoy Health and Wellness Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Photo from Ponca Tribe

Nebraska newspaper praises the Ponca Tribe for tackling behavioral health issues:
The Ponca people, Chief Standing Bear famously told the U.S. District Court in Omaha in 1879, are the same as any people, sharing mankind's potential and frailties.

"That hand is not the color of yours, but if I pierce it, I shall feel pain," Standing Bear told Judge Elmer Dundy. "If you pierce your hand, you also feel pain. The blood that will flow from mine will be the same color as yours. I am a man. God made us both."

The principle is as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the 19th. Today, one of the common needs in Nebraska is having professionally run programs to help those suffering from depression or an addiction to alcohol. To paraphrase Standing Bear's words, mental illness can weigh on a Ponca woman, or alcohol dependency can afflict a Ponca man, as heavily as it does a white person.

There is encouraging news: Jay Eason, who oversees behavioral health services for the Ponca Tribe, has received one of the top honors from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for his dedicated, visionary service.

Recipient of this year's Director Award for outstanding individual service, Eason won praise for his professionalism, hard work and the strong working relationships he has developed with state agencies and nonprofits.

Get the Story:
World-Herald editorial: Positive news for the Ponca (The Omaha World-Herald 6/14)