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Chief Standing Bear


category : Indian Heritage
Chief Standing Bear

Ponca Chief Standing Bear merely wanted to fulfill a promise; instead, he became part of one of the West's most famous trials. The Chief's son, like many of his tribe, had taken ill after being forced onto a reservation in Oklahoma. On his deathbed, the son uttered a final wish: to return to the traditional land of the Ponca, 500 miles away in northern Nebraska. Determined to bury the remains of his son in the land of his ancestors, Standing Bear escaped the reservation with a small band of relatives and friends. Three months later, they were captured by a reluctant, sympathetic Brigadier General George Crook and detained at Fort Omaha. Standing Bear's plight caught the attention of Thomas Tibbles, the assistant editor of the Omaha Daily Herald. Tibbles enlisted the help of two prominent Omaha lawyers who filed suit, claiming that the defendants had been illegally deprived of their liberty. During the trial, General Crook testified on behalf of the Ponca. Standing Bear was vindicated.


For the first time in American history, Native Americans were recognized as having protection under the U.S. Constitution. Judge Elmer S. Dundy ruled that "an Indian is a person within the meaning of the law."



Come visit us in Ponca, Nebraska

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Cook's Blacksmith Shop Museum

The blacksmith shop was built in 1901 by C.O. Cook, who operated his business for over thirty years. The building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Ponca, NE Museums

Adam's House Museum

The Adam's House was built in 1882 by E.D. Ayers, a druggist in Ponca in the nineteenth century. In 1904, the house was purchased by Sam and Della Adams who had farmed in Silvercreek Township for several years prior to purchasing the house. In 1934

Ponca, NE Museums

Indian Hill Archeological District - NHR

A cluster of eighteen prehistoric archeological sites within less than one-half square mile constitutes the Indian Hill District located near Newcastle. Indian Hill is the only exclusively prehistoric archeological district yet designated in Nebraska and is listed on the

Ponca, NE Archaeology

War Memorials

Union Memorial - "Sacred to the memory of the boys who wore the blue from 1861 - 1865.

Loss of Lives: North, 359,529 -- South, 349,556"

Foreign Wars Memorial - "Soldiers who died overseas - Dixon County"

Ponca, NE Memorials

Historic Downtown Walking Tour

The Ponca Historic District comprises a ten-square-block area that includes the downtown commercial area and a portion of the residential environs. The district contains houses, churches, commercial buildings, and public and

Ponca, NE Tours

Things to do Indian Heritage near Ponca, NE

Ton won tonga Site

Located near the town of Homer, Big Village or "Ton won tonga," the principal village of the Omaha tribe, w...