STANDING BEAR, 1829-1908
Standing Bear was a chief of the Ponca Indians whose tribe was moved to Indian Territory in Oklahoma in 1877. Wanting to return to his homeland in Nebraska, he led a number of his people on a hard and dangerous journey back. The United States Army arrested him for returning to Nebraska, and he took his case to court. The judge ruled that "an Indian is a person within the meaning of the law and the Poncas must be set free." This judgment meant that Standing Bear and all Indians had rights under the Constitution, just as did non-Indians.