Catch Up With Chuck Episode 11 Building Hope in Native Communities with Judi Gaiashkibos


Jan. 25, 2018

Joining Chuck in this week’s episode of Catch Up With Chuck is the Executive Director of the Nebraskan Commission on Indian Affairs, Judi Gaiashkibos, who is a leader on Native issues. She is an enrolled member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, and she serves as a board member of the Nebraska Rural Development Commission.

Leadership is important to Gaiashkibos, who descends from a legacy of leaders, including Ponca Chief Smoke Maker. RFI believes that leaders are known by their vision, ideas, energy, passion and engagement in collective action, and Gaiashkibos is no exception.

Since 1995, Gaiaishkibos has been providing a voice for her people through the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs. The commission’s motto is: “to join representatives of all Indians in Nebraska to do all things which it may determine to enhance the case of Indian Rights and to develop solutions to the problems common to all Nebraska Indians.”

Gaiashkibos discussed the history of the native people of Nebraska and emphasized the importance of forward-thinking leadership, diversified economies and pride of place. She told the stories of successful leaders who helped build community, economic diversity and representation for Native people.

Recently the commission worked with members of the state government to leave a footprint of Native presence on Centennial Mall in Lincoln, Neb. through a statue honoring Ponca Chief Standing Bear. Chief Standing Bear protested the federal government’s eviction of the Ponca Tribe from their northeastern Nebraska land, and he later returned to Nebraska to bury his son. The resulting landmark court case established that a Native American is a “person” under the law.

Working with other state and federal government agencies and federal and state elected officials is an important aspect of the commission, and Gaiashkibos values this collaboration.

“Wherever possible, what I try to do is bring the voice of the First People in a proud, good way that can benefit the whole state.”

-Judi Gaiashkibos


Sharing stories of Native history is important to Gaiashkibos, who believes in developing leaders in her community, giving her people a voice, and advocating on their behalf for the betterment of all people in Nebraska and beyond.


Catch Up With Chuck is Facebook Live series with Rural Futures Institute Founding Executive Director Chuck Schroeder. Airing most Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. (CST) on RFI’s Facebook Page, Chuck uses this time to discuss critical rural topics and the latest about RFI while answering viewers’ questions. Stay in touch with Catch Up With Chuck and the Rural Futures Institute through Facebook and Twitter. We will be back soon with another episode looking at rural people and places, success stories, innovators, thinkers and doers who are making rural communities a legitimate best choice for worthwhile living.