Ponca tribes reclaim ancestral land along Trail of Tears in Nebraska

By Kevin Abourezk, Indianz.com
‘A force field against the Keystone XL Pipeline’

NELIGH, Nebraska – They stuck their hands into the ground, poking small holes into the fine sand and filling each hole with a single seed. They did this in the Sandhills of northeast Nebraska, more than 100 people standing in a long line stretching from one end of the field to the other. A sweltering sun beat down, and a strong wind blew the trees and grass . . . For the fifth year, farmers, friends, family and Native people planted the Poncas’ sacred corn on Art and Helen Tanderup’s land on Sunday. Nearly 200 people filled the couple’s farm to participate in the corn planting and to celebrate a transfer of land from the Tanderups to the Ponca tribes of Oklahoma and Nebraska. Read more here.

Photo by Kevin AbourezkNative children plant seeds at the fifth annual Ponca sacred corn planting ceremony on the Tanderup farm near Neligh, Nebraska, on June 10, 2018


  • In possible roadblock for Keystone XL, pipeline opponents gift land to Ponca, by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald
    LINCOLN — For five years, opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline and members of the Ponca Indian Tribe have sown native tribal corn in the path of the controversial project as a form of resistance. Now they’ve planted another potential roadblock.
  • Removed from the land before, Ponca nation vows to protect the Earth from Keystone XL, by Kevin Hardy, Des Moines Register
    NELIGH, Neb. — Under a boundless canopy of clear blue skies painted with wispy white clouds, Mekasi Camp Horinek blows a whistle as he turns and prays to the four sacred directions.  He looks up to the creator as the high sun delivers welcome relief to battering prairie winds. He kneels, clutches a few strands of ryegrass and prays to Mother Earth. Horinek leads this corn planting ceremony at the edge of a crop field that could be mistaken for thousands of others like it across the fertile heartland. But his feet are planted at the site of two monumental crossings — one widely perceived as a historic injustice when his Ponca tribe was forcibly marched off this land 140 years ago; the other feared as a modern one, marking the proposed route for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.