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SIOUX CITY -- A city commission on Friday recognized two community members who have worked to improve civil rights.

The Sioux City Human Rights Commission presented Frank LaMere and Tito Parker with War Eagle Human Rights awards.

LaMere is a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and executive director of the Four Seasons Direction Community Center in Sioux City. He was honored for his lifelong advocacy for native people in child welfare, juvenile justice and legal issues, the commission's Executive Director Karen Mackey said.

LaMere in 2003 lobbied for passage of the Iowa Indian Child Welfare Act. He was the architect of the movement to stop the illegal flow of alcohol from Nebraska to South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He advocates for those who suffer injustice and inequality.

Parker is an outreach worker at East Middle School, where he engages children and adults to participate in positive community-based activities. He also organizes an annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration and sponsors a gardening program that gives food to needy families.

Parker also works with at-risk children at Whittier Elementary School and tutors children after school at a mobile home court. During the summer, he works with children in a variety of projects.

The award is named after Chief War Eagle, chief of the Yankton Tribe in the 1800s. War Eagle viewed the whites who settled what is now Siouxland as friends rather than enemies. He negotiated peace treaties, and in 1837 received a medal from President Martin Van Buren.

The commission works to eliminate inequality in the community.

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