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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

Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Salem Church - NHR

Built in 1906, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is one of Nebraska's outstanding examples of Swedish-American Gothic Revival wood church architecture. The building was designed by Swedish architect, Olof Z. Cervin.

Ponca, NE Historic Churches

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

Outlaw Trail - Nebraska Highway 12

The wild west era where famous outlaws, horse thieves, lynch mobs and lawmen ruled is past. Today, along the Outlaw Trail, travelers are greeted by friendly folks as well as plenty of quiet hideaways.

Ponca, NE Trails

The Ponca Tribe

This has been the homeland of the Ponca Indians since earliest recorded history. In 1866, the Federal government signed the treaty of Fort Laramie, which transferred the land to the Sioux without the permission of the Ponca. Treaties made with the government in 1856

Ponca, NE Indian Heritage

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

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...