Letter of the Law: A review of Standing Bear is a Person

by Oct 20, 2010A&E0 comments


 Court TV. Law and Order. Cold Case. Some of the most popular dramatic programs on television today are those that deal with the activities of the legal system. Recently, the public has been intrigued by high-profile court cases that are broadcast on television and on the nightly news.

Standing Bear is a Person demonstrates that the American public has a history of becoming involved in unique court cases. Stephen Dando-Collins discusses a court case that has all the elements that evoke public interest today–sympathetic defendants, romance, and dramatic events. When the Ponca were forced to leave their homelands in Nebraska in 1877, their Chief launched a critical lawsuit.

Standing Bear sued the U.S. District Court in an urgent effort to reclaim their homelands and to return to them. The drama that ensued includes the excitement that accompanies today’s visible court proceedings.

Standing Bear’s pretty daughter, Bright Eyes, became his voice and image in the dominant culture. A newspaper editor, Henry Tibbles, becomes a personal crusader for Ponca justice and is rewarded with romance. Famous Indian opponent General George Crook proves to be an invaluable, if unlikely, ally. Finally, Standing Bear himself impresses the American
public with his stalwart resolve.

Standing Bear is a Person discusses the 1879 legal case that decided that Native Americans were to be viewed as people. This case established precedent and was a legal victory for the Poncas. As a result, this book is a valuable contribution to the body of work that addresses Native American rights, law, history and U.S. government policy. A clear style that is easily read and understood, yet interesting, characterizes this book. Stirring events, memorable characters, formidable obstacles and an impressive
conflict combine with uncluttered writing t