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.

Legend

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.

Ponca Removal Trail Map

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This map shows the route taken by the Ponca when they were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands to a new location in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). Indian Agent Edwin A. Howard's journal provides an overview of events along the route. The journey was marked by tragedy in the form of terrible weather, illness, and many deaths. 

The story of Chief Standing Bear results from this removal and his son's dying wish to be buried among his ancestors back along the Niobrara River.