Standing Bear High School breaks ground with descendants in attendance

Standing Bear High School breaks ground with descendants in attendance
Standing Bear High School breaks ground with descendants in attendance(Ellis Wiltsey)
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 8:53 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It was an afternoon filled with songs and celebrations as Lincoln Public Schools officially broke ground on another new high school.

This one, located near 70th and Saltillo Roads, won’t be open until the fall of 2023. Unlike other directional high school names in Lincoln, this one is steeped in history.

It was an emotional scene at times as members of both the Ponca Tribe and direct descendants of Chief Standing Bear were there to witness the groundbreaking of the new high school.

“It’s a long time coming, not just for my ancestor, but the Ponca people and all indigenous peoples,” Stacy Laravie said.

Laravie is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Chief Standing Bear. She was joined by a handful of other direct descendants Thursday afternoon for the ceremony.

“Standing Bear’s story is just a small part of a bigger picture,” Laravie said. “It’s just something that shows we’re resilient; we’re still here.”

Standing Bear is one of just two LPS high schools to not be a name derived from a direction. The other is Lincoln High. LPS worked closely with the Ponca Tribe when the name was first put on the shortlist of options.

Their contributions and history were heavily highlighted during remarks from LPS staff today.

“We gather today to celebrate, to reflect, and to remember that we are on land which for centuries has been and still today is, and into the future will be the homeland to indigenous peoples,” said LPS Superintendent Dr. Steve Joel.

That collaboration is continuing. LPS is still working with the Ponca Tribe to select the colors and the mascot for the new school, a step that historically has been missed when selecting mascots that have sacred meaning in indigenous cultures.

“So that we make sure moving forward LPS is an example for the rest of the state and the rest of the country in how that collaboration can work in a positive way,” said Larry Wright Jr., the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Chairman.

There is no timetable for when those could be decided upon, but the process is now getting underway.

Copyright 2021 KOLN. All rights reserved.