2014 Ponca Chief Standing Bear Event
On Friday, May 9th in commemoration of the landmark 1879 trial of Ponca Chief Standing Bear vs. General George Crook, Douglas County Historical Society will host its annual Ponca Chief Standing Bear Commemoration filled with free activities for the whole family to enjoy. The event will kick off at the General Crook House Museum at 5:30 p.m. with a reception featuring bean soup and corn bread, Native American dance and music. At 7 p.m., the event will move to the south end of campus to the Swanson Conference Center for the staged reading of Mary Kathryn Nagle’s latest play. The evening will wind down at 8:30 p.m. with a talk back panel discussion ending at 9 p.m. Playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle will offer a theatrical look into the life of George R. Crook as part of our 2014 commemoration. Nagle has twice-previously authored plays that enriched this event. The first, “Waaxe’s Law,” was a retelling of the trial of Ponca Chief Standing Bear, who in 1879 successfully argued that Native Americans are “persons within the meaning of the law” – an important early victory in the fight for Indian civil rights. This past year, Nagle wrote “In My Father's Eyes,” which looked at the Standing Bear trial from a different angle. She told the story of Susette LaFlesche Tibbles, called “Bright Eyes,” who was a member of the Omaha tribe and acted as a translator at the Standing Bear Trial. This year we mark the 135th anniversary of the trial by featuring Nagle’s third play, which will pay tribute to the larger-than-life personality of General George Crook, who spoke on behalf of the Ponca tribe at the trial. In the staged reading, General Crook will reflect upon and share stories about the major periods of his life. Nagle, who is Cherokee, will also look at Crook’s complicated relationship with Native Americans. Often identified as an “Indian fighter,” Crook participated in the Indian Wars, battling Snake Indians as part of the Snake War, and later the Apache in Arizona. As head of the Department of the Platte, located in Omaha, Crook served in the Great Sioux War. Contradictorily, Crook expressed great respect for the plight of Native Americans, and spent his later years speaking on their behalf. Many Native American leaders likewise respected him – he was nicknamed “Grey Wolf” by the Apaches, and one of their leaders, the celebrated Geronimo, embraced him at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition. Oglala Sioux War Chief Red Cloud said of Crook, "He, at least, never lied to us. His words gave us hope." Interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing provided. Reservations to this event are required due to limited seating. To RSVP, call DCHS at 402-455-9990, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit us on the web at DouglasCoHistory.org.
Historic Fort Omaha
5730 N 30th Street, #11B, Omaha, NE 68111