Chief Standing Bear Map

map mission and user guide

MAY 16-JULY 9, 1877

After being forced into Indian Territory by the U.S. government, the Ponca tribe set out for present-day Oklahoma. This map follows the trail taken by Chief Standing Bear when he led his tribe back to the new territory assigned for the Poncas. This maps aims to create a visual representation of the long trail the Poncas had to travel by foot. Along the hundreds of miles they have to walk, the tribe underwent all sort of difficulties, including weather inclemencies and lost over 100 members of the tribe, including Standing Bear's son: Bear Shield. After arriving to a land that was not fit for the Ponca lifestyle, Standing Bear decided to return back to their homeland together with a small commitive, in order to bury his son. Upon his arrival to the Omaha reservation, Standing Bear was arrested and judged, beginning one of the most important cases for the legal status of Native American people and setting an example for the widespread application of Human Rights all over the country.


The points on the map are color-coded to represent specific events. Orange dots represent important locations, such as reservations and the District Court where Standing Bear's trial took place. Red dots represent deaths that occurred on the journey to Indian Territory. White dots represent the formal burials that were carried out for Prairie Flower and White Buffalo Girl. Blue dots represent journal entries from Agent E.A. Howard along the trail.

Browse Items (33 total)

Blue Rapids Times - 06.21.77.pdf
Local opinion of Ponca passing through Blue Rapids, KS.

Independent - 07.06.77.pdf
The Ponca pass through Burlington, KS. A lengthy description of their society and the effects of progress.

Burlington Weekly Patriot - 07.06.77.pdf
"Gypsies" camping at Independence.

Republican Courier - 07.12.77 1.pdf
Ponca in Columbus, KS soldier camp on a Sunday, whom town people visit.

Council Grove Democrat - 06.28.77 1.pdf
Ponka [Ponca] camp east of Council Grove at Little John. Derogatory description.

Morris County Republican - 06.30.77 2.pdf
Ponka [Ponca] chief presents "wampum belt" to female when tribe passed through Council Grove, KS.

Iola Register - 07.07.77.pdf
Ponca pass through Iola, KS. Derogatory description.

Industrialist - 06.23.77.pdf
Poncho [Ponca] Indians pass through College, Manhattan. Derogatory description.

Nationalist - 06.29.77.pdf
Ponca spend $1,000 while camped nearby Manhattan, KS. Writer bemoans town's loss of income after "worthless fellows" smuggled whiskey into tribe's camp.

Ponca leave Lee Creek.
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