2015 symposium

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Standing Bear

Photo courtesy the Nebraska State Historical Society

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The Center for Great Plains Studies is partnering with the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs for the Center's 41st Annual Great Plains Symposium on May 14-15 in Lincoln, Neb. 

The Symposium's theme is Chief Standing Bear, the Standing Bear Trail and continuing issues for Native Americans in the Great Plains today. The symposium is a two-day, interdisciplinary event that will attract scholars, public officials, tribal members and other interested members of the public from across the Great Plains.

The NCIA is in the process of planning, researching and gathering resources necessary to apply for the establishment and designation of a Chief Standing Bear Trail running from Nebraska to Oklahoma. The establishment of this trail will increase the general public's knowledge and awareness of the story of Ponca Chief Standing Bear.

The history of Chief Standing Bear brings up issues people still identify with today and will engage the public in examining a variety of historical and legal lessons including the displacement of the Ponca tribe to Oklahoma, tribal sovereignty and legal and ethical issues of equality.

In conjunction with the symposium, the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs (NCIA) will hold its 2015 Chief Standing Bear Breakfast in Lincoln. This will be the start of a new biennial format for the event that will allow more time and energy to be focused on bringing bigger and better events to program attendees. The 2015 event will still feature the Breakfast Commemoration, but will also bring speakers, performances and discussion to Lincoln. 

Despite enduring problems, Native Americans in Nebraska, the Great Plains and this country today face dramatically improving prospects for their futures. This symposium will examine the status, challenges, and especially the opportunities and prospects that Native Americans face going forward. It will bring together leading Native thinkers, entrepreneurs, writers, tribal elders, performers, and others with scholars, academics, and public officials.

Hattie Kauffman, Former CBS and ABC correspondent and author of the memoir "Falling into Place," will be the keynote breakfast speaker. 

The NCIA is the state liaison between the four headquarter tribes of the Omaha, Ponca, Santee Sioux and Winnebago Tribes of Nebraska. It helps ensure the sovereignty of both tribal and state governments is recognized and acted upon in a true government-to-government relationship. The commission also serves all off-reservation Indian constituencies in the State of Nebraska. All goals of the commission are accomplished through advocacy, education and promotion of legislation.

More information about the symposium will be available on this page later this year. If you have immediate questions, email the Center. More information on the Chief Standing Bear Breakfast can be found at the Commission's website.