Kevin Abourezk: Bill to recognize forced march of Ponca Tribe






Ponca Chief Standing Bear. Photo from Wikipedia

Kevin Abourezk reports on efforts by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska) to designate a trail that follows the forced removal and return of the Ponca Tribe to Nebraska:
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry plans to introduce a resolution that would designate the trail Chief Standing Bear and his people took on their way to Oklahoma in 1877. The trail also would commemorate the chief’s return to Nebraska and subsequent trial in 1879, when he became the first Native to be recognized as a person in a federal court decision.

“I think this story needs to be told and retold to America,” Fortenberry said. “Chief Standing Bear is one of the most important civil rights leaders in our history.”

He said efforts in recent years to increase awareness of Standing Bear’s legal victory and his people’s plight have created momentum that should help gain House approval for the federal trail designation.

A resolution passed by the Nebraska Legislature in June expressed support for the Chief Standing Bear Trail, which would run from the Niobrara River in Nebraska to near what now is Ponca City, Oklahoma, and back to the site of the trial of the chief in Omaha.

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: Fortenberry to seek federal designation for Standing Bear trail (The Lincoln Journal Star 6/23)