• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Standing Bear rose up for his people

by on
in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Although Native Americans in the late 19th century were fighting a losing battle, they still enjoyed moments of leadership. This is one of them.

Until 1876, the Ponca tribe kept to itself in northeastern Nebraska. Times being what they were, though, the Ponca were mistakenly included on a list to be relocated.

Needless to say, the Ponca’s nine clans were not thrilled. Their chiefs agreed to go look at this land accompanied by a federal agent, but the agent threatened them so much that the shocked chiefs decided to walk 600 miles home rather than cave in to the agent’s demands.

The next time federal agents showed up, Standing Bear, chief of the ninth clan, informed them that they hadn’t been invited and must go. The agents came back and forced the Ponca to relocate … except for Standing Bear’s people, who fled to a friendly tribe, the Omaha. Standing Bear was arrested.

Here, the story departs from its usual plot. A newspaperman and a constitutional lawyer took up the case. At the time, Indians were typically considered wards of the state, but Standing Bear sued under the 14th Amendment, which guarantees that no government can deprive a person of his life, liberty or property.

Judge Elmer Dundy heard the case and let Standing Bear speak.

“This hand is not the color of yours,” he said. “But if I pierce it, I will feel pain. If you pierce your hand, you also feel pain. The blood that will flow from mine will be the same color as yours. I am a man. The same God made us both.”

Judge Dundy pored over laws and treaties for 12 days, then decided:
  1. Every person is entitled to liberty, and Standing Bear was a person.

  2. The clan had a right to separate from the tribe and live elsewhere.

  3. The Army had violated its own procedures in arresting the Indians, who were free to go.

Through steadfast leadership, Standing Bear had won.

— Adapted from Standing Bear Is a Person, Stephen Dando-Collins, Perseus Books.

Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!

Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...

We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.

The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.

" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/7544/standing-bear-rose-up-for-his-people "

Leave a Comment