A statue has been unveiled in Washington DC celebrating Chief Standing Bear, an early Native American civil rights warrior.
In the middle years of the 19th century, the Ponca Native Americans lived on the west bank of the Missouri River in what is now northeastern Nebraska. Smithsonian.com explains that the Ponca strived to develop a good relationship with the US government, and ended up turning over most of their land, keeping only a 58,000 acre reservation. According to the National Park Service, the tribe struggled to survive with hardscrabble farming, and were vulnerable to attacks from tribes like the Brule Sioux.
In 1868, the US government created the Great Sioux Reservation, and the Ponca tribe’s lands were inside its borders, so the Ponca were supposed to leave what remained of their homeland and move to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. They resisted, and Standing Bear, a tribal chief, protested the move. But in 1877 the government sent in federal troops to facilitate the eviction.