A bill that recognizes the removal and resilience of the Ponca people is up for its first hearing on Capitol Hill.
authorizes the Department of the Interior
to conduct a feasibility study of the Chief Standing Bear National Historic Trail
. The 550-mile path traces the journey the Poncas were forced to make in 1877 to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma.
But it also marks the route the tribe took in 1879, when they returned to their homelands in present-day Nebraska. Though Chief Standing Bear
lost two children by that time, he stood his ground and eventually won a landmark court decision affirming the rights of his people.
“The story of Chief Standing Bear is a story of strength, grace, and dignity. He stood for the protection of the most basic of human rights," Rep. Jeff Fortenberry
(R-Nebraska), the sponsor of the bill, says on a website established by the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs
. "It is a story that needs to be told and told again, understood and cherished by all Americans of coming generations.”
Today, Ponca descendants make up the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
, with headquarters in Niobrara, one of the endpoints along the trail. The other endpoint is Ponca City in Oklahoma, where the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma
H.R.2490 will be considered at a hearing of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands on Wednesday afternoon. It is one of 14 bills on the agenda.
The subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Deb Haaland
(D-New Mexico), who is one of the first two Native women in Congress
The hearing takes place at 10am in Room 1334 of the Longworth House Office Building. It will be broadcast by the subcommittee
on and on Facebook
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Notice
National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Legislative Hearing
(May 22, 2019)
Ponca Chief Standing Bear Statue - Centennial Mall - Lincoln,
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