Thursday, April 26, 2012

Standing Bear

Standing Bear, chief of Ponca tribe

Standing Bear Native American Memorial Park, Ponca City, Oklahoma

When we were running from the tornado a couple of weeks ago, we woke up the next morning and found ourselves in Ponca City, Oklahoma, so we decided to play tourist and see what was there.

We found Standing Bear park, 63 acres including a pond, walking trail, native grasses and wildflowers, all surrounding the 22-foot bronze statue of Ponca Chief Standing Bear, created by Cowboy Artist of America, Oreland C. Joe. The monument is supposed to be a very realistic depiction of Standing Bear - with right hand extended to the east and his eyes, gentle and wise, overlooking the ancient Arkansas River valley, where the original Chief Standing Bear is believed to have walked more than 100 years ago.

Standing Bear successfully argued in U.S. District Court in a landmark civil rights case in 1879 that Native Americans are "persons within the meaning of the law" and have the rights of citizenship.

The Ponca Nation, headquartered south of Ponca City since 1879, played a major part in the development of the Marland Oil Company (now Conoco), leasing tribal land in 1911 for oil exploration and development. (note oil refinery smoke in the background)

The Native American influence and history is evident everywhere here in the Midwest.

1 comment:

The Jones Family said...

I happened on your blog quite by accident, (or maybe nothing is an accident...) turns out I lived part of my childhood in Ponca City, Oklahoma, where my dad worked for Conoco. I haven't been back there for over 40 years, but wow, did your little post bring back some memories. Thanks for sharing.