Kevin Abourezk: Ponca Tribe pays tribute to community

"A Milford woman made her a new dress. A local carpenter built a coffin, and the carpenter's wife cleaned her body.

Prairie Flower's father, Ponca Chief Standing Bear, presided over the $15 Christian funeral. The grief-stricken father spoke of renouncing his tribal ways in favor of "those of the white man," according to E.A. Howard, the government agent in charge of the Poncas' forced march to Oklahoma.

But Standing Bear appreciated the community's gesture, which helped "ameliorate the grief of the husband and father," Howard wrote in his journal.

"This was a hallmark moment of this tragic Ponca trail of tears flight," said Joe Starita, author of "I Am a Man," a biography of Standing Bear.

Now the chief's ancestors want to thank the community that helped Standing Bear bury his adult daughter on June 6, 1877. They plan to host a traditional meal of buffalo corn soup, frybread and wojapi (a kind of fruit pudding) starting at 11:30 a.m. June 5 in Milford City Park."

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: Ponca Tribe to honor Milford for historical gesture (The Lincoln Journal Star 5/29)

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