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I am a man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice”by Joe Starita Analysis

The following paper analyzes lifestyle and other related matters of Ponca tribe with the context of a 2009 book named “I am a man: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice” written by Joe Starita. Throughout the book Starita explicates different incidents that took place in 1877 when an Indian tribe Chief Standing Bear’s Ponca was enforced to vacate Nebraska; their homeland and therefore they marched to another stranger Indian Territory that is widely known as Oklahoma today. To establish a familiarity between readers and Ponca tribe; Starita ascribes their way of living as well as underlying characteristics of their tribe.

Ponca people occupied Nebraska and South Dakota “for as long as anyone could remember” (1) and featured an intricate cultural backdrop and practices for generations. They lived in earth lodges that were built in shape of the dome and also used “buffalo-hide tipis” (1) as a residential solution. Ponca nurtured floodplain and enticed the hunting. They usually foraged in valley and hills to accumulate edible fruits and plantation. Ponca knew the myriad of ways to heal and cure injuries and diseases through utilization of herbs and other botanical resources. Their children were subject to be carried along with their mothers in cradleboards so they could communicate with their surroundings. Rough-field hockey and hand games were popular among Ponca people, and they practiced specific religious rituals and societal dances. Moreover, Ponca’s different warrior groups persuaded different set of rules. Ponca people indulged in the art of storytelling and hearing as well.

Life of Ponca people was not comfortable because of their strict cultural aspects, and lack of resources and evacuation of their homeland made matters worse for them. Before the removal; Ponca had signed treaties with the USA to attain protection from rivals in the exchange of partial lands. However, in 1877 despite all pacts, USA government removed Ponca and other indigenous tribes as the result of ethnic cleansing. Consequently, Ponca tribe confronted the terribleness of inhospitable setting and suffered from substantial losses due to starvation and severe health issues.

Work Cited

Starita, Joe. “I am a man”: Chief Standing Bear: a native sons search for justice. St. Martins,



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