Kevin Abourezk: Rebecca White is first woman to lead Ponca Tribe
"Rebecca White opened the e-mail Wednesday morning from a friend congratulating her on being elected her tribe's first female leader.

"Your grandmother would be proud," her friend wrote. She certainly would.

Within the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, men have traditionally served as leaders. 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.

On Tuesday, White, of Bennington, became the first chairwoman of the tribe, which regained federal recognition in 1990 after being terminated 24 years earlier.

"I love it that girls out there everywhere will know that they can accomplish goals," White said. "They can accomplish anything if they put their minds to it."

With 194 votes, she defeated Mark Peniska Jr. of Lincoln, who got 186 votes, and Robin Bair of Wagner, S.D., who got 84 votes. Outgoing Chairman Larry Wright Jr. of Lincoln was unable to seek re-election after serving two terms - the limit for the position."

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Kevin Abourezk: Ponca Tribe elects first female leader (The Lincoln Journal Star 11/3)