Ponca Chief Standing Bear descendants hail book on court case

Two descendants of Ponca Chief Standing Bear praised a book that details their ancestor's historic court case.

In 1878, Standing Bear and other members of the Ponca Tribe were arrested when they tried to return to Nebraska from Oklahoma, where they were forced to move. Standing Bear wanted to bury his son, who died as a result of removal, in their homeland.

Standing Bear disputed his arrest, resulting in a federal court case in which he was declared a person, a first for an Indian person. His struggle is recalled in “I Am a Man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice" by Joe Starita.

“It is the most accurate account of the trial I have ever read,” Stacy Semm, a great-great-great-grandaughter of Standing Bear, said at a discussion on the book, The Grand Island Independent reported.

“Joe puts a lot of feeling into his writing — you can feel the sadness,” added sister Kim Laravie.

The book is this year's selection for the One Book, One Nebraska program.

Get the Story:
Standing Bear’s story a topic for author, descendants (The Grand Island Independent 6/14)

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