Monday, January 16, 2006

as the ancients have commanded

In 1877, Standing Bear and his people, the Ponca, were forcibly removed from their land in northern Nebraska and sent to Indian Territory. When they arrived they found that no provision for food or shelter had been made for them. As a result, a number of the tribe, including Standing Bear’s son, did not survive the harsh winter. In defiance of his relocation order, Standing Bear decided to return to his homeland in Nebraska with as many of his people as wished to go with him. They set out on foot, begging along the way for food and shelter. Near
the city of Omaha they stopped to visit their relatives, the Omaha people. Not long thereafter the Ponca were arrested and held by General George Crook. With the help of local Indian rights activists and, some say, General Crook himself, Standing Bear sued in U.S. District Court for his right to return home. Judge Elmer Dundy found in favor of Standing Bear, giving for the first time the rights of a U. S. citizen to a Native American.

may the ancestors be pleased with Standing Bear....


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