Governor Ricketts, State Leaders Honor Chief Standing Bear

LINCOLN, NE (July 21, 2022) – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts joined State leaders and Ponca Tribe members to honor Chief Standing Bear through the dedication of the Chief Standing Bear Justice Administration Building.  Chief Standing Bear’s 1879 lawsuit against the federal government (Standing Bear v. Crook) led to a landmark decision reaffirming the basic human dignity of Native Americans and entitling them to equal protection of the law.

“Chief Standing Bear’s dedication to his family, his tribe, and the principle of equal human dignity changed history,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “Every American should learn the story of his courage and perseverance in seeking justice.  The Chief Standing Bear Justice Administration Building is one significant way the State can honor this incredible Nebraskan.”

This year, State Senator Tom Brewer sponsored a legislative resolution at the request of Governor Ricketts to rename the State office building located at 521 South 14th Street in Lincoln as the Chief Standing Bear Justice Administration Building.  At the dedication, State leaders also unveiled a Chief Standing Bear bust created by artist Benjamin Victor and a mural painted by artist Sarah Harris.

Benjamin Victor is a sculptor from Boise, Idaho who previously created the Standing Bear statue on display in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C.  This made him the youngest person ever to have a sculpture in the National Statuary Hall.  Sarah Harris, also from Boise, collaborated on the initial design of the mural with Victor.  The mural is located on the first floor of the Chief Standing Bear Justice Administration Building and depicts the Ponca Tribe’s journey on the Trail of Tears as well as Chief Standing Bear’s trial.

Multiple members of the Ponca Tribe, including Stacy Laravie, a descendant of Chief Standing Bear, attended the dedication ceremony.

The Nebraska Department of Administrative Services’ (DAS) State Building Division is in charge of the management and maintenance of state-owned facilities.  It led the efforts to update the Chief Standing Bear Justice Administration Building.

“Administrative Services is honored to be a part of honoring the legacy of Chief Standing Bear,” said DAS Director Jason Jackson.  “Our public buildings should reflect our history and the nobility of Nebraskan values.  Standing Bear is the perfect embodiment of the virtues that those in public service should strive to attain.”

Last year, Governor Ricketts dedicated the First Nebraska Administrative Building in honor of the First Nebraska Infantry Regiment that fought for the Union in the Civil War.  That building dedication was also part of Senator Brewer’s legislative resolution.