BILLINGS, Mont. - The National Indian Health Board chose Montana Chippewa-Cree leader Alvin Windy Boy to receive its top honor, the Jake Whitecrow Award, for his work promoting Native health care issues.
Windy Boy, a member of the Chippewa-Cree Business Committee on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, received the award during the health board's recent annual meeting here.
Along with his other duties, Windy Boy is chairman of the Montana-Wyoming Area Indian Health Board, the Rocky Boy's Health Board, the National Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee and the National Tribal Diabetes Council. He is vice chairman of the national Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee, president of the Montana-Wyoming Indian Stockgrowers Association, and secretary of the National Inter-Tribal Agriculture Council. He is widely expected to become tribal chairman after Chairman Bert Corcoran retires this fall.
Conference officials described Windy Boy as a tireless advocate who "continues to challenge the paternalism and oppressive bureaucracies that impact the lives of Indian people." He also was recognized for his dedication to cultural issues and traditional values.
John J. Callahan, Kevin Thurm and Andy Hyman of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were recognized for continuing efforts to improve health care delivery and promote self-determination efforts among tribes across the nation.
Others receiving national awards were Kenn Bisonette of the Northern Cheyenne Board of Health; Michael Bird of the American Public Health Association; the late Judith Chapman, a longtime lobbyist and tribal activist who died this summer; Caroline Duncan of the Native American Fitness Alliance; Lloyd Benton Miller, an attorney and longtime champion of tribal self-determination efforts, and Dr. Taylor McKenzie, vice president of the Navajo Nation.
Special posthumous recognition was also given to former Salish and Kootenai Chairman Mickey Pablo, who died last year, and Joe De La Cruz, the late chairman of the Quinault Nation in Washington state.
Also receiving awards from the health board, which represents tribes in each of the 12 Indian Health Service areas, were Navajo Nation Council member Jerry Freddie; Albert Long of the Navajo Nation Department of Social Services; Art Lizer of the Riverside/San Bernadino County Indian Health program; Turtle Mountain health activist Everett Enno; Gordon Belcourt, executive director of the Montana-Wyoming Area Indian Health Board and the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council; Patricia McGeschick of the Fort Peck Center for Services for Children and Families; Billings Area Indian Health Service assistant director Pete Conway; Alina George of the Nez Perce NeMeePoo Health program; Northern Arapahoe Chairman Anthony "Al" Addison and Ben Ridgely, the tribe's vice chairman; David Moeny, a pharmacist with the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, and all the staff at the consortium's pharmacy center; Gertrude Werk, a caregiver with the Community Health Representative Program on the Fort Belknap Reservation; Jeanette Charbonneau, director of the Fort Peck Community College's Wellness Center; Julia "Jill" Lee and Linda Martin of the Poarch Creek Indian Health Department; Nez Perce health activist Rovella Bosse; and Crow tribal elders Evelyn BirdinGround Old Elk and Thelma BirdinGround.
Montana's Northern Cheyenne Tribe earned a number of awards. Honored for their work were: Tribal Health Director Linwood Tallbull; emergency medical technician Quentin Means Jr.; health department recruitment director Marlene Redneck; former Board of Health chairwoman Hilda Moss; Marilyn Johnson of the tribe's diabetes program; Eric Timber, head fitness coordinator; nursing leaders Nancy Elliot and Roberta Cady; chemical dependency counselor Roger Knows His Gun and the entire Northern Cheyenne Community Health Representative Program.