By Eighteen Sixty Five, the Poncas were forced to move eastward onto land chosen by the US government.
In Eighteen Sixty Eight, the government negotiated the Fort Laramie Treaty with several bands of the Sioux Nation. In a mistake, the Ponca's land was given to the Sioux. Coincidentally, a year before the treaty, the State of Nebraska was admitted to the Union.
In Eighteen Seventy Seven, after nine years of trouble, the government decided to move the Ponca from Nebraska to "Indian Territory". Ten chiefs, including Standing Bear, surveyed the land, hated it, and eight of them walked back to Nebraska. The military forced 660 Poncas south. Walking through terrible spring weather, many of the tribe died, including Standing Bear's daughter, Prairie Flower. She was buried near Milford, Nebraska.
In eighteen sevty nine, during almost two years in Indian Country, hunger, terrible sanitary conditions, and malaria had killed a third of the Ponca tribe, including Standing Bear's son, Bear Shield. Standing Bear and 30 other members decided to return to their old burial ground with Bear Shield's body. They got as far as the Omaha reservation in Nebraska. They were arrested and moved to Omaha, where the trial was held.