The Associated Press
NIOBRARA — The new headquarters building for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska will provide space for an array of services and a community center the tribe will share with the Niobrara community in northeast Nebraska.
The building is expected to be ready for occupancy early next year and contain around 9,000 square feet. That’s more than double the space in the former grain-and-feed building the tribe operates out of now.
Other tribal sites in Lincoln, Norfolk and Omaha and in Sioux City, Iowa, also offer services for tribal members. The tribe has a service area of 15 counties throughout eastern Nebraska but has members across the United States.
The 3,600-member Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is the name used to describe the Northern Ponca Tribe since the tribe was federally restored to sovereign nation status in 1990. The other three tribes considered indigenous to Nebraska are the Omaha, Santee Sioux and Winnebago tribes. They have reservations, but not the Ponca. Since 1990, however, the tribe has acquired land through purchases to build the tribe and its culture.
The new building “will display our culture, which is very important to us and teaches our younger members our heritage,” said tribal council member Debbie Robinette.
And the center will be available to others in Niobrara.
“We are also very thankful for the support we receive from the Niobrara community,” Robinette said. “We give to them, and they give to us. We have a ‘marriage,’ and it works well. Niobrara is very good to us.”