For ages 8 and up; 7 illustrations;
For Ages 8 and up
Imagine having to argue in court that you are a person. Yet this is just what Standing Bear, of the Ponca Indian tribe, did in Omaha in 1879. And because of this trial, the law finally said that an Indian was indeed a person, with rights just like any other American.
Standing Bear of the Ponca tells the story of this historic leader, from his childhood education in the ways and traditions of his people to his trials and triumphs as chief of the Bear Clan of the Ponca tribe. Most harrowing is the winter trek on which Standing Bear led his displaced people, starving and sick with malaria, back to their homeland—only to be arrested by the U.S. government, which set the stage for his famous trial. Standing Bear’s story is also the story of a changing America, when the Ponca, like so many Indian tribes, felt the pressure of pioneers looking to settle the West. Standing Bear died in 1908, but his legacy and influence continue even up to the present.
“Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve has told a terribly important, complex story of what it means to be human—to be a father, a leader, a civil rights hero—in simple, powerful, unadorned language accessible to one and all, but especially to children.”—Joe Starita, author of “I Am a Man”: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice
“Finally we have a children’s book that tells the story of the Ponca people who were for so long a forgotten tribe and presents an Indian hero for teachers to use in the classroom. Sneve captures the unique richness of being Indian and the challenges faced in a changing America as Standing Bear’s life evolves. Students will be inspired to find their own heroes through the universal themes of the love of family and home as we celebrate Standing Bear’s journey home.”—Judi M. gaiashkibos, an enrolled member of the Ponca tribe of Nebraska and executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs