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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 Niobrara, Nebraska

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Gavins Point Dam

Gavins Point Dam, part of the 1944 Pick-Sloan Plan, plays an important role in the successful operation of the six main stem dams and reservoirs on the Upper Missouri River Basin. The dam was completed in 1957 at a cost of $51 million.

Niobrara, NE Recreation

Niobrara Museum

Included in the displays and items of our interesting past in the museum are:

  • Collections of items from Niobrara and surrounding area
  • Documents of the three Niobrara towns' activities
  • Niobrara, NE Museums

Pilgrim Congregational Church and Manse

Constructed in 1870-71, this building served as both a chapel and a training school. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Niobrara, NE Historic Churches

National Register Sites in Knox County

Bloomfield - Pospeshil Theater (1906): Elaborate pressed tin ceiling, fanciful woodwork.

- Carnegie Library: Being transformed into a museum. 402-373-4771

Center - Knox County Courthouse (1935

Niobrara, NE National Register

Sage Brothers Memorial

The Sage Brothers Memorial plaque was originally placed at the entrance to Sage Brothers Memorial Field. In 1999 it was moved to downtown Niobrara, just north of the Niobrara Mall.

Niobrara, NE Memorials

Things to do Indian Heritage near Niobrara, 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...