Chief Standing Bear Forever Stamp

The U.S. Postal Service announced it will honor Chief Standing Bear with a Forever stamp. In 1879, Standing Bear won a landmark court ruling that determined a Native American was a person under the law with an inherent right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

What: The first-day-of-issue event is free and open to the public.

Who: In attendance for the event:

The Honorable Anton G. Hajjar, vice chairman, U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors

Candace Schmidt, chairwoman, Ponca Tribe

Judi M. Gaiashkibos, executive director, Nebraska Commission of Indian Affairs

When:  Friday, May 12, at 11 a.m. CDT

Where: Centennial Mall, Between P and Q streets, Lincoln, NE 68508


Dedication ceremony attendees are encouraged to RSVP at:


In 1877, the U.S. Army had forcibly relocated some 700 Ponca to Indian Territory (what is now Oklahoma) after the federal government had given away the tribe’s homeland in the Niobrara River Valley in what is now northeastern Nebraska.

In a landmark civil rights case, Standing Bear v. Crook, Standing Bear sued the government for his freedom after being arrested, along with 29 other Ponca, for attempting to return to his homeland. Lawyers filed a writ of habeas corpus to test the legality of the detention, an unprecedented action on behalf of a Native American.

After winning the case, Standing Bear and the members of the Ponca who had followed him were allowed to return to their old Nebraska reservation along the Niobrara River.

One issue that his 1879 trial had raised was finally resolved in 1924 when Congress adopted the Indian Citizenship Act, which conferred citizenship on all Native Americans born in the United States.

This stamp features a portrait of Chief Standing Bear by illustrator Thomas Blackshear II. Blackshear created the portrait based on a photograph taken of Standing Bear in 1877 while he was in Washington, DC, as part of a delegation of Ponca chiefs appealing to government officials for the right to return to their homeland. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp.

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