The purpose of the Chief Standing Bear Project is to promote the life and civil rights legacy of Chief Standing Bear, a Native American of the Ponca Tribe. We promote by presenting public discussion groups, forums, lectures and other events, and annually recognizing with a cash award a person who exemplifies courage in the spirit of Standing Bear.

2023 Prize for Courage Winner, Nebraska State Senator Tom Brewer

Chief Standing Bear Prize For Courage

The Standing Bear Prize for Courage is a project of the Chief Standing Bear Project Inc., which aims to recognize individuals who embody the courageous spirit of Chief Standing Bear. This prize is awarded to promote and honor the life and civil rights legacy of Chief Standing Bear.

Ponca Trail of Tears

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 their homeland in Nebraska after losing over 100 members of his tribe, including his son. His trail to and from Nebraska created a two-way, circular trail.

About Chief Standing Bear

From his birth on the banks of the Niobrara River in Nebraska until his death in 1908, Chief Standing Bear spent his life in constant struggle to gain equality and justice for our nation’s Native Americans. In 1877, Chief Standing Bear and the Ponca Tribe were forced by a federal treaty to leave their homeland in Nebraska for Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. Chief Standing Bear became the first Native American to be recognized as a person in a federal court decision.