Friday, May 27, 2016

Native America Biography: Standing Bear, Ponca

Standing Bear was chief of the Ponca.  There is no way to hide it, the Ponca got a raw deal.  A treaty of 1858 guaranteed tho Ponca a reservation on their traditional land.  However an 1868 treaty with the Sioux put the Ponca land inside the Sioux Reservation.  When the government corrected this seven years later the gave money to compensate for Sioux attacks, and moved all the Ponca to Indian Territory.  In 1879 Standing Bear and a few followers walked back yo Nebraska.  General George Crook returned them.  The Ponca were dying.  Nearly a fourth of the remaining Ponca had died by 1879.  Standing Bear wanted to bury his son who had died on traditional land. He and about 70 others again made the trip.  Again General Crook met them.  However the newspapers had picked up the story, and a couple lawyers helped him in the Standing Bear vs. Crook case.  The first ruling was if Standing Bear was a citizen.  He testified, "My hand is not the same color as yours, but if you pierce it, I shall feel the pain.  The blood will be the same color.  We are men, the same God made us.. . . .All I ask is what is mine--my land, my freedom, my dignity as a man."  The courts ruled he had right to babe as corpus and ruled those with hi could stay.. The ruling did not apply to Ponca still in Oklahoma.
The La Flesche helped the Ponca Tribe when they were shipped to Indian Territory.

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