Staff spotlight: Jerry navigates projects in Native communities

A new face is representing the Center for Rural Affairs in Native communities in northeast Nebraska.

Self-described as an information sharer who loves helping and learning, Jerry BigEagle has found his perfect fit as the Center’s Native Communities Project Manager.

Jerry brings decades of experience with emergency preparedness funding, disaster assistance, fish and wildlife management, small business assistance, and tribal grant writing to accomplish his goals with each of the four Nebraska Tribes he works alongside in his new position—the Omaha, Winnebago, Santee, and Ponca Nations in northeast Nebraska.

“I love teamwork,” said Jerry. “Along with my 23 years of experience working in Indian Country, I'm a naturalist, biologist, and scientist. I’m excited to utilize those skills throughout my work in Native communities.”

Among his responsibilities, Jerry works with the Tribes to explore food sovereignty initiatives.

“I want to identify shortcomings in the farm to market and food sovereignty programs, and identify strategies and ways to help better them,” said Jerry. “I want to become and develop a point of contact for the Center to Nebraska Tribes as a partner and supporter over time. And, ultimately, I want to successfully implement a fully-functioning farm to market program within each Tribe.”

The responsibilities of this position land close to home for the Native Communities Project Manager.

“As a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Four Bands of the Lakota, I'm heavily connected to Tribes in South Dakota,” said Jerry. “Many South Dakota Tribes are originally from Nebraska—both states share cultural backgrounds, economic circumstances, and cultural and familial ties.”

And, Jerry keeps a quote in mind to help guide this work in the right direction.

Peace will come to the hearts of men when they realize their oneness with the universe; it is everywhere. - Black Elk

Jerry can be reached at the Center’s office in Hartington, Nebraska, at 402.254.6893 or jerryb@cfra.org.