Standing Bear's Footsteps

In 1877, the Ponca people were exiled from their Nebraska homeland to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. To honor his dying son's last wish to be buried in his homeland, Chief Standing Bear set off on a grueling, six-hundred-mile journey home.

In 1877, the Ponca people were exiled from their Nebraska homeland to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. To honor his dying son's last wish to be buried in his homeland, Chief Standing Bear set-off on a grueling, 600-mile journey home. Captured en-route, Standing Bear sued a famous U.S. army general for his freedom.

Larry Wright, Jr., recently completed his term limit as the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska's Tribal Chairman.

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This session was presented as a three-hour clinic. We began our session with introductions and a question prompt of “What is ‘home’?” Each participant shared, with one even highlighting that where she lived wasn’t her ‘home’. This was a perfect transition into the introduction, “What is ‘home’ for the Poncas?” Larry led a brief discussion about the historical aspects of the tribe and how the documentary, curriculum and the workshop sections of the project began to take shape.

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The month of February found me back at the Ponca tribal community of White Eagle working with the students to create a video for the American Graduate Film festival. The video is to address the festival theme is, the dropout crisis in America. The plan was to bring back the students from the Standing Bear's Meaning of Home summer program for another round of making digital media with Mac Air books using I-movie. With the deadline the first of March, we beganwith classes twice a week.

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I recently taught digital media to a group of Southern Ponca students at White Eagle Oklahoma for the Standing Bear’s Footsteps project. The class began with nine students who were selected the Ponca Tribal Education Department. The students varied in age from 10 to 14, that’s fifth to eighth grade, 4 girls and 5 boys. This was a six-week project, with classes held 2 ½ days per week.

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The fourth biennial VisionMaker Film Festival was held September 30 through October 6, 2011, with screenings at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, Sheldon Art Museum, NET Television, Film Streams (Omaha, Neb.) and Merryman Performing Arts Center (Kearney, Neb.) with the help of the following funders and supporters: Nebraska Arts Council, Nebraska Humanities Council, NET Television, Lincoln Journal Star, Southeast Nebraska Native American Coalition (SENNAC), University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO), Creighton University,

Standing Bear’s Footsteps, the new historical documentary by Christine Lesiak and Princella Parker (Omaha), tells the story of one of America’s original civil rights activists, Ponca Chief Standing Bear.

“The film is about what it means to be a person as told through the life of a Ponca Indian Chief, and his struggle to be free,” said Christine Lesiak, executive producer, writer and director of Standing Bear’s Footsteps.

Shayla Laravie interviews her grandfather, Steve Alan Trudell, and explores the meaning of "home" with him.

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