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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

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

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

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


Carnegie Library - NHR

This brick structure, faced on three sides with stone, was constructed in 1913, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the second to last library to be built with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie. It now contains over 7,712 volumes.

Ponca, NE National Register

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...