Chief Standing Bear’s Ponca Indian tribe, in 1877, was asked to leave their native country, Nebraska by force. They were made to parade towards the Indian Territory which is now known as Oklahoma. The story “I Am a Man” registers what occurred when a 600 mile walk was taken by Standing Bear to bury his one and only son to their customary burial place. Alongside, it observes the intricate association among the US government and the insignificant, nonviolent community and the lawful penalties of land switches and shattered agreements, while never disregarding the distressing expedition the Ponca suffered.
During the journey, many died, together with the death of Standing Bear’s daughter. During the advent, his son too gave up on his life. In order to fulfill the last request of his son that was to be suppressed in his motherland, Standing Bear and his small group began the strenuous voyage to bury his son. They comprehended that they were committing this in disobedience of commands not to dispense from their reservation. They were soon under arrest and about to be reimbursed to Indian Territory when their predicament was revealed in the Omaha Daily Herald.
At a fort near Omaha, Standing Bear was detained for hearing. In 1879, the court administrated Standing Bear v. Crook and declared that the Indians were acknowledged as persons under the 14th Amendment and consequently could take legal action for their privileges. As Standing Bear’s factions were permissible to stay in Nebraska, the conclusion divided the community into northern and southern groups. Though, the Tribe’s whole property had been forcibly occupied, they had no place where they could move. Finally, twenty-six thousand domains in Knox County would be returned to them.
Ponca nation became pressurized during the time period of 1880 and 1890. Ministers and Agents wanted to eliminate customary sacred customs, marriage practices, and dances. Notwithstanding ethnic antagonism, the administration also enforced its allocation rule on them in 1892, consequential in the ultimate estrangement of much of their property. In 1911, the Ponca again came under burden after the detection of oil close to their reservation by oilman Ernest Whitworth Marland. The growth of the Ponca and Tonkawa oil fields caused ecological complications, compelling the Ponca to intemperate their winter sites along the Arkansas River and transfer to separate allocations.
At present, Standing Bear’s bust rests in Nebraska’s State Capitol Hall of Fame, idolizing and respecting his tireless struggles and determination for Native American Rights.
Starita, Joe. ” I Am a Man”: Chief Standing Bear’s Journey for Justice. Macmillan, 2009.