LOCATION: Near 70th Street and Saltillo Road
OPERATION: Opening in Fall 2023
Standing Bear High joins Lincoln High as the city’s only public high schools with names that are not based on a direction and it’s the first to be named for a person.
A committee of 10 community members (Becky Dunder, Halley Kruse, Richard Meginnis, Amanda Morales, Cindy Ryman Yost, Alynn Sampson, Kamryn Sannicks, Deb Schorr, Felecia Welke and Ed Zimmer) and three Board members (Bob Rauner, Lanny Boswell and Don Mayhew) solicited and reviewed suggestions for names of the new high school to be built in south Lincoln near 70th Street and Saltillo Road. Over 200 names were suggested by more than 600 individuals. The committee met over the course of several weeks to discuss the submissions and make a recommendation to the Board.
The committee unanimously recommended that the new school be named Standing Bear High School. Standing Bear (1829-1908) was a chief of the Ponca Tribe when the tribe was forcibly removed from its homeland in Nebraska. When Standing Bear returned to Nebraska to bury his son, he was arrested and held for trial. Standing Bear prevailed and was declared a “person” according to law. He and his followers were free to return to their homeland. However, they had no home to return to, as all of the tribe’s land had been taken from them.
Larry Wright, chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and a former LPS teacher, addressed the Board and spoke of the significance of this decision.
“This was a real opportunity, if this name was chosen, to lead the country and show that this can be done in a good way that’s representative and respectful of indigenous people,” Wright said.
Steve Laravie Jr., a great-great-great-great-grandson of Standing Bear, also spoke to the Board before performing a prayer song.
“This consideration of his name for an environment where young people can learn and grow to be great leaders for their own communities, for their own families, for this good land – for all of us – I thank you on behalf of my family,” he said.