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[Read by Armando Duran]
In 1877, Chief Standing Bear's Ponca Indian tribe was forcibly removed from their Nebraska homeland and marched to Oklahoma -- known then as Indian Territory -- in what became the tribe's own Trail of Tears. ''I Am a Man'' chronicles what happened when Standing Bear set off on a six-hundred-mile walk to return the body of his only son to their traditional burial grounds.
Along the way, it examines the complex relationship between the United States government and the small, peaceful tribe and the legal consequences of land swaps and broken treaties, while never losing sight of the heartbreaking journey the Ponca endured. It is an account of people left for dead who survived injustice, disease, neglect, starvation, humiliation, and termination. On another level, it is a story of life and death, despair and fortitude, freedom and patriotism; a story of Christian kindness and bureaucratic evil; a story of hope, of a people still among us today, painstakingly preserving a cultural identity that had sustained them for centuries before their encounter with Lewis and Clark in the fall of 1804.
Before it ends, Standing Bear's long journey home also explores fundamental issues of citizenship, constitutional protection, cultural identity, and the nature of democracy -- issues that continue to resonate loudly in twenty-first-century America. It is a story that questions whether native sovereignty, tribal-based societies, and cultural survival are compatible with American democracy.
Standing Bear successfully used habeas corpus, the only liberty included in the original text of the Constitution, to gain access to a federal court and ultimately his freedom. This account aptly illuminates how the nation's delicate system of checks and balances worked almost exactly as the Founding Fathers envisioned, a system arguably out of whack and under siege today.
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Joe Starita is a former investigative reporter and New York bureau chief for the Miami Herald, where one of his stories was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is now a professor at the University of Nebraska's College of Journalism and the author of The Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge, an account of five generations of a Lakota Sioux family, that garnered a second Pulitzer Prize nomination, won the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association Award, and has been published in six foreign languages.
''Starita is careful to cover all the legal bases, but he is more interested in reaching general readers than legal historians. He succeeds admirably, especially on noting the outcome of the case, which both established legal personhood for American Indians and allowed Standing Bear to live once again in Nebraska. A worthy, readable companion to Peter Nabokov's Native American Testimony, Vine Deloria's Custer Died for Your Sins and other modern standards of Native American history.'' --Kirkus Reviews
''The painful, moving, inspiring, and important story of Chief Standing Bear has found a worthy chronicler in Joe Starita. This excellent book is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the West or of America.'' --Ian Frazier, New York Times bestselling author of On the Rez and Great Plains
''Starita masterfully portrays the chief's story in this compelling narrative of injustices finally righted....full of drama and sudden revelations.'' --Publishers Weekly
BR> ''Starita sympathetically documents the many injustices done to the Ponca people by the US government during the latter portion of the nineteenth century through the experiences of Chief Standing Bear.'' --Library Journal
''An important and compelling picture of the plight of the Ponca . . . a story that needs to be told and a book that needs to be read by anyone trying to understand the complex story of America's relationship with its native people.'' --Bill Yenne, author of Sitting Bull and Indian Wars
''['I Am Man'] is a portrait of a man, a portrait of a time, and an evenhanded discussion of the complex legal and moral issues that lay beneath the struggle of our nation's first inhabitants to find justice in the land of their birth.'' --Kent Nerburn, author of Chief Joseph and the Flight of the Nez Perce
''Starita's account of Ponca Chief Standing Bear's search for justice, is a compelling story that needed to be told, and one that all Americans should read. Standing Bear's perseverance resulted in a legal shift in white America that was a far-reaching benefit for all native peoples.'' --Joseph M. Marshall III, author of The Journey of Crazy Horse
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Book Description Blackstone Audio, Inc., 2015. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1504651839