The 1879 trial of Omaha Chief Standing Bear was the subject of last month’s press club.
Award winning author, college professor, and former newsman Joe Starita was the guest speaker. Starita wrote I AM A MAN, which detailed the landmark case of Chief Standing Bear. He said the case stemmed from the U.S. government forcing the Ponca Indians from their ancestral land, and Chief Standing Bear’s efforts to lead some of them back.
"Before the crowd began to file out, the judge made an announcement. Although the trial had now officially ended and the legal proceedings were finished, one last speaker had asked permission to address the court. The judge supposed it was the first time in the nation’s 103-year history that such a request had been made but he had decided to grant it. And he had earlier informed all the lawyers of his intention to do so. So the crowd settled back down and turned its attention to the front of the court.”
That person was Omaha Chief Standing Bear. Starita said the case was pivotal, as Chief Standing Bear was recognized as a person in the eyes of the law.
The Omaha Press Club airs in its entirety on Monday, July 16th at Noon on KIOS.