Leon Leader Charge. Courtesy photo
Sicangu Citizen Honored By National Indian Health Board
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times Editor
Rosebud -- For many Lakota the route success is filled with many twists and turns. One local man seems to be finding his stride has was recently awarded with a Area Impact Award by the National Indian Health Board.
The Board of Directors at the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) recently selected winners for the annual Heroes in Native Health Awards. The awards honor individuals or organizations for their excellence, achievements and contributions that go above and beyond the call of duty to enrich and improve the health of American Indian and Alaska Natives.
Each year, the National Indian Health Board awards up to 12 recipients with the Area Impact Award. This award acknowledges individuals and organizations whose work has affected change or impacted healthcare and public health services for their entire Indian Health Service Service Area or region. This year Leon Leader Charge was one of the twelve honored for his work.
"My hope is that our future generations realize the importance in higher education and how it effects our tribal communities, when someone says you cant do it, try harder and rely on yourself and prayer," he said.
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As an Access Advisor for the South Dakota Board of Regents, Leon Leader Charge assists with the promotion and recruitment of South Dakota Native Americans and low-income high school seniors to post-secondary/higher educational opportunities. He sees his work as an extension of his to goal of preventing Native youth from falling into the cycle of addiction. His support system has been a major aid in his ability to find success and in motivating him to give back to his community. He is passionate about helping Tribal communities, expanding culturally appropriate evidence-based best practices, expanding Tribal research, history, Lakota and Native American culture, Tribal law and treaty, formation of federal/tribal policy, suicide prevention, and the betterment of all Tribal nations.
He was recently awarded the 2016 University of South Dakota Tiospaye Student Council “Distinguished Alumni Award” given to him in recognition of his work on behalf of Lakota people across the state. Leon has done impactful work for Tribal communities in psychological first aid, co-occurring mental health disorders, twelve core functions of a substance abuse counselor, evidence-based best practice theories and public health models, facilitation/consultation, policy formation, and advocacy at the state and national level.
(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at email@example.com)
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