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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

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

Church of Our Most Merciful Savior

Built in 1884, this one story church with board and batten siding is the only surviving Episcopal mission in the county. Services are still conducted with a beautifully wood finished interior. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Priest in Charge - Fr. David Hussey

Niobrara, NE Historic Churches

Mormon Monument

In 1846 Newell Knight, his family, and a company of Mormons left Nauvoo, Illinois to search out a home in the Rocky Mountains. Due to hardships, the group could not go on and they built a fort of log cabins by the Niobrara

Niobrara, NE Monuments

Outdoor Mural

This 140 ft. mural on the north side of the museum building was painted by Keith Knutson of Niobrara and Blane Berg of Verdel. It was funded by the Historical Society and represents approximately 200 years of history from Lewis & Clark days to the

Niobrara, NE Arts

Things to do Indian Heritage near Niobrara, NE