This is a story of a great and noble man. A man of courage and determination who was willing to face arrest for leaving the government’s reservation without its permission – all because of his love for his son and his people. 

Standing Bear was a man who fought for his freedom, not with armed resistance, but with bold action, strong testimony and heartfelt eloquence. He knew he and his people had been wronged. All he wanted was the right to live and die with his family on his own land – on the beloved land of his Ponca ancestors.This story is a civil rights victory for Native Americans, unprecedented in American history. 

For the first time, a federal court declared a Native American to be a “person” – a human being, having rights and privileges to file an action for a redress of grievances in a federal court, like every other person in America.  

Standing Bear won his fight for freedom. His victory began a movement of change, a slow change, but a change, nevertheless. The pervading sense of indifference toward Native Americans was broken. America would never be the same because of what Standing Bear did.

About the Author


Lawrence A. Dwyer

Lawrence A. Dwyer holds a B.A. Degree in American and British History from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and a Law Degree from Creighton University. He is a member of the Nebraska Bar Association and has been a practicing attorney for 45 years. Larry served on the Board of Directors of the Douglas County Historical Society and became the first President of its Foundation. He was the keynote speaker at the Historical Society's 130th and 140th Anniversary celebrations of the Trial of Standing Bear. He has given countless presentations to various civic organizations for the past decade on the historical significance of Standing Bear.

Highlights of Standing Bear's Quest for Freedom

Based on the author's ten years of research from primary sources , you will hear Chief Standing Bear, the members of the Ponca Tribe, and other participants in this historic case  speak for themselves. As you read this book, you will be able to:

  • Journey with members of the Ponca Tribe in the forced removal from their ancestral homeland to barren Indian Territory in Oklahoma--following a diary of the march and the Journey of Sorrows Map with dates and locations of the 500 mile trek.  
  • View 28 historic photographs of the people and places accompanying the chapter events.
  • Feel a part of each of the historic events as they unfold.
  • Experience the first civil rights victory for Native Americans.  
  • Witness the first speech ever presented by a Native American in a Federal Courtroom.
  • Search the 400+ endnotes linking the verifiable sources to the events and testimony  in this landmark case.

Study Questions for Books Clubs & Students

One of the final sections of the book includes study questions for each of the chapters prepared especially for book club discussions and student study. 

Book Format and Ordering Information

This book is available from any bookstore. It can be ordered online from Amazon (e.g., Print or Kindle).  Order at   Bookstores can order from Ingram.

Excepts from the Book

Click to the Excerpts Tab below to read the Prologue from the book.  

Speaking Engagements

Larry makes the story of Standing Bear come alive for all those who hear him. For speaking request information, contact: