Chief Standing Bear of the Ponca people played the key role in United States ex rel. Standing Bear v. Crook, the 1879 legal case that established that Native Americans were “persons” under the law. In his Ponca language, he was known as Maⁿchú-Naⁿzhíⁿ or Macunajin.
Standing Bear’s role in the landmark case stemmed from his attempt to bury his son’s bones in Nebraska after the son had died as a result of forced removal of the Ponca tribe by the U.S. government to Oklahoma.
The statue, sculpted by Benjamin Victor, stands in the National Statuary Hall Collection. It replaced a statue of William Jennings Bryan.