Contact Info
Missouri River Institute
The University of
South Dakota
414 E. Clark Street
Science Center
Vermillion, SD 57069

Financial support for website development provided by the
Living River Group
of the
Sierra Club




Site Description:

The Chief Standing Bear Memorial Bridge and Overlook links Niobrara, Nebraska to Running Water, South Dakota. The bridge replaces the Running Water crossing that was used by several ferries from the late 1800s through 1984. Chief Standing Bear led the Ponca Tribe whose people inhabited lands near the Niobrara-Missouri River confluence. In 1877, the US Government forced the Ponca to relocate to Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma, where many died from hunger and disease, including Standing Bear's son. In 1879, the chief and 30 Poncas set off to bury the boy on ancestral lands. Standing bear was arrested for leaving the reservation. Ponca Chief Standing Bear was the plaintiff in Standing Bear v. Crook (1879), a landmark case that established a complex of legal rights for Native Americans.

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