Abourezk: Remember Ponca Chief Standing Bear
"As the country honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. this week, I think it's a good time to remember a man many consider to be our country's first civil rights activist.

He is widely known in Nebraska, but I would dare say few have heard of him beyond the state's borders.

He is Chief Standing Bear of the Ponca Tribe.

In January 1879, Standing Bear and 30 of his followers left Indian Territory in Oklahoma to return to their former lands in Nebraska.

You see, as it had done to so many Native people, the U.S. government had forcibly moved the Poncas from their homes and sent them to Oklahoma two years earlier.

But Standing Bear and his followers preferred their homelands along the Niobrara River to the barren earth of Oklahoma.

Then the chief's son died.

But before Bear Shield died, he asked his father to bury him in the soil of his homeland.

Like any father, Standing Bear wanted to fulfill his son's dying wish.

So on Jan. 2, 1879, he and 30 followers left for Nebraska. Two months later, they were arrested, and Standing Bear was put on trial."

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: A Good Time to Remember Standing Bear (RezNet News January 2008)

Relevant Links:
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska - http://www.poncatribe-ne.org

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Nebraska to celebrate Ponca Chief Standing Bear (05/12)
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