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The Ponca Tribe


category : Indian Heritage
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 had guaranteed their land to them. The Ponca were forcibly removed to Indian Territory in 1877. Unable to adjust to the climate of the South, many died, including the son of Chief Standing Bear.


In January 1879, Standing Bear and his people left Indian Territory bearing the remains of his son for burial in Nebraska. When troops arrested them, white friends came to their aid. A landmark court decision, Standing Bear vs. Crook, which determined that " an Indian is a person within the meaning of the law," did much to provide legal rights for all Indians. In 1977, Standing Bear was elected to the Nebraska Hall of Fame.


A Nebraska Reservation was eventually assigned to the Northern Ponca. In 1962, the reservation was terminated. The Northern Ponca were reinstated as a federally-recognized tribe on October 31, 1990.



- Nebraska State Historical Marker



Come visit us in Ponca, Nebraska

Attractions and Upcoming Events

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

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

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

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:

Ponca, NE Indian Heritage

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

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...