NELIGH, Nebraska -- The Sixth Annual Sacred Ponca Corn Planting in the path of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline was set for June 8 here on land farmers Helen and Art Tanderup deeded back to the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.
“It's time to celebrate another year's planting and another year of NoKXL!” the grassroots BOLD Nebraska said in announcing the date, which previously had been scheduled for an earlier occasion.
At a ceremony in summer 2018 the Tanderups returned the piece of their family's land where the corn has been grown, putting it under tribal jurisdiction.
The U.S. Army forcibly removed the Ponca from here 138 years ago, using the Ponca Trail of Tears route that also crosses the Tanderup farm.
Video by Kevin Abourezk: Ponca
Plant Seeds of Resistance, Sacred Corn
The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska has been working with other Nebraskans who wish to preserve this sacred and culturally significant area to establish federal and local protections and an official historical designation for the trail.
“It is only fitting that out of the tragedy of the Ponca Trail of Tears that a small piece of this historic trail be transferred to them,” Tanderup said at the deed ceremony.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Chairman Larry Wright, Jr. called the occasion “another step to healing old wounds and bringing our people together again to a land once ours.” He said it was an opportunity to “remember our ancestors who sacrificed the only home they knew, where relatives and loved ones died being removed from their homes.”
He recognized the Tanderups for “protecting this land,” adding, “Our commonality continues to bring us together to protect this precious resource.”
Ponca Nation of Oklahoma Councilwoman Casey Camp-Horinek recalled that her family brought the Ponca sacred corn to the first contemporary planting here. “These ‘seeds of resistance’ were planted on the proposed route of KXL to create a barrier,” she said.
Bold Nebraska is asking people to fill out the reservation form so hosts will know how many are attending. It’s at boldnebraska.org/ponca2019