Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Standing Bear at Chautauqua

The featured Chautauquan on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 will be Taylor Keen portraying Standing Bear, Chief of the Poncas.  As was the case with many Native American tribes of the 1800s, increased settlement in their lands led to disastrous consequences for the Poncas of Northeast and North Central Nebraska.  Eventually forced to relocate to reservation land in Oklahoma Territory, the Poncas faced a great deal of hardship.  Upon the death of his son, whose last wish was to be returned to the Ponca homelands, Standing Bear honored his wishes and took his son home.  On the course of the journey, Standing Bear was apprehended by the U. S. Army and was forced to stand trial.  In this famous case, Standing Bear v. Crook, it was found that “an Indian is a person within the meaning of the law” and Standing Bear was being held illegally.  This case, while not addressing many of the other policies of the action of the Federal government toward Native Americans, was an important first step in establishing basic civil rights for Native Americans.

Taylor Keen is the Managing Partner, Talon Strategy a professional management consulting services company.  He is also a Professor at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where he is a full time lecturer and Director of the Native American Center.   He graduated from Harvard Business School with a MBA in International Trade and Finance and Harvard University Kennedy School of Government with a MPA in International Trade, Finance and Economics.  He completed the Christian Johnson Fellow, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.  He graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA in Education. He also attended Creighton University.  He is the past Councilor of the Cherokee Nation at Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and President, Board of Directors at American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma.  He is also the past Councilor of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma

The key themes of the “Free Land” Chautauqua look at the settlement of the American West as impacted by the Homestead Act, Pacific Railway Act, and the Morrill Act.  The Nebraska Humanities Council worked closely with many scholars to identify themes central to this Chautauqua.  They include:

1.       The unfolding of the “free soil, free labor” ideal for America held by Republican policy makers of the time,

2.       The rapid economic development of the West and the nation, especially through the building of railroads;

3.       The accelerated removal of Native Americans,

4.       The opportunities and innovations provided by the population of the West having broader access to a public education, and

5.       The opportunities and potential for social mobility of both emigrants and immigrants that an increasingly landed and educated population had in a developing American West

Come learn and enjoy during this monumental week.  May 20 will kick off the event with an evening of speakers, music, and entertainment.  May 21-25 will have evening Chautauqua performances beginning the night with local entertainment.  During the day there will be workshops for both adults and youth.  May 26, will conclude the week with the Monumental Fiddling Championship with a special free concert by John McCutcheon ending the night.  For more detailed information visit www.nps.gov/home

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Chautauqua Calendar

  • May 20: Meet the Chautauquans 11:00 am Chautauqua Park Beatrice
  • May 20: 150th Anniversary Begins 6:00 pm Homestead