Standing Bear Goes to Court

When the Army arrested a chief of the Ponca Tribe in 1878 for leaving their reservation, he sued the Federal government and won —the first time in which the courts recognized that a Native American had legal rights.
In the village of Niobrara, the tiny Ponca tribe runs a museum in a one story community center covered with dark-brown shingles and white trim. The town is in the Northeast corner of Nebraska across from North Dakota, where the Niobrara River flows into the Missouri – a beautiful stretch of water that remains much the same as it was when Lewis and Clark paddled by here 210 years ago.

In the community center, the Ponca hold tight to their memories. The tribe’s historian, Vance Appling, is eager to recount the story of Standing Bear and the “Ponca Trail of Tears,” when the U.S.

Date of Event: 
Thursday, July 13, 1865
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A Road They Did Not Know

Our greatest Western novelist deciphers Crazy Horse, Custer, and the hard year of the Little Bighorn

BY THE SUMMER OF 1875 A CRISIS OVER THE BLACK HILLS of South Dakota could no longer be postponed. Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer had made a grand announcement that there was gold in the hills, and it caught the nation’s attention. After that miners could not be held back. The government was obviously going to find a way to take back the Black Hills, but just as obviously, it was not going to be able to do so without difficulty and without criticism.

The Redskin Who Saved The White Man’s Hide

Chief Washakie earned his battle scars in the service of the Great White Father, who—for once at least—kept faith with an Indian

 

General George Crook, United States Army, angular and bearded, resisted the impulse to consult his watch again. From the opening of his tent he could have seen the wide stretch of sagebrush-covered hills to the west over the willow bottoms of Goose Creek, but he was tired of looking at it. Why didn’t Washakie come?

 
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