The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is one of four tribes indigenous to Nebraska. Today, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska numbers slightly over 2,500.
A very significant moment in the Tribe's history was the "Trial of Standing Bear" in 1879. It was at this time that the Ponca were forcibly removed from their homeland in northeastern Nebraska and marched to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Standing Bear was held for trial at a fort near Omaha. The outcome was that the Indian was declared a "person" according to law, and that Standing Bear and his followers were free to return to their homeland. However, as all of the Tribe's land had been taken from them, they had no home to return to. Eventually, 26,000 acres in Knox County would be restored to them.
In 1962, Congress decided that the Northern Ponca would be one of the tribes terminated. The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska is the name used to describe the Northern Ponca Tribe after the Tribe was officially restored in 1990. In 1988, the Tribe successfully lobbied the Nebraska Unicameral to grant their "state recognition" and secured an endorsement to support a quest to become a federally recognized Tribe.
The Circle of Youth is a Ponca Tribe Youth group dedicated to promoting Ponca culture & positive healthy lifestyles to Native Americans ages 5-18.
The rain barrel features symbols featured on the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska emblem. The number four is sacred to the Ponca. It symbolizes the four winds (directions) and the four races of people. The sun symbolizes the unity of all beings under Wakonda or Creator. Crossed arrows represent peace and friendship. Also appearing are the Ponca words shúka , meaning 'rain' and Man zhan, meaning 'earth.'