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house Bill H.R. 984

Should the Chief Standing Bear Trail Become a National Historic Trail?

Argument in favor

This bill is long overdue to honor Chief Standing Bear and the rest of the Ponca people who walked the trail spanning from Oklahoma to Nebraska. A National Historic Trail label will help keep their history alive.

Cary's Opinion
We should invest in making things right for the wrong things we have done.
Like (8)
Elinor's Opinion
At least this much. Consider making many more honors for the native people who were nearly destroyed by Europeans, including promoting their languages and ethnic rites and rituals.
Like (5)
I think this would be a wonderful honor not only of the Chief, but for all people to know of his achievements of of this historical tribe he represented. Knowing our own American history and all the many different people who live in this land is what America is all about.
Like (3)

Argument opposed

Being designated as a "National Historic Trail" is a pretty paltry way to commemorate Standing Bear and the rest of the Ponca people — what about educating people more widely about the federal Indian removal?

AndyV's Opinion
We have enough "studies for feasibility" that need to be shutdown, already. With much honor and respect to our Native Americans- we need to save wherever we can, and not spending the money on a study of feasibility of officially naming a trail is not economically feasible AT THIS TIME. But, definitely a great suggestion for a country who has the money for that sort of thing.
Like (1)
B.R.'s Opinion
While I agree that the honor is long overdue, the cost of $500,000 is ridiculous, not to mention the timeframe to conduct the study. And this is just a feasibility study. Someone should take a good look at the Secretary of the Interior' practices and costs.
SherryTX's Opinion
Either do it or not. $500k for a study? NO

What is House Bill H.R. 984?

This bill would require the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct a study on the feasibility of designating the Chief Standing Bear Trail — running through Nebraska and Oklahoma — as a national historic trail. A study, not an official designation. 

The Chief Standing Bear Trail currently spans the roughly 550 miles from Ponca City, Oklahoma, through Omaha, Nebraska. It was the trail taken by Chief Standing Bear and the Ponca people during the federal Indian removal — the very ugly and destructive effort by the U.S. to remove native peoples from "federal lands" in the south. Some of you may remember the "trail of tears" — that designation came from the federal Indian removal in 1830


People with a vested interest in the Chief Standing Bear Trail, Native American people from the affected area, the National Park Service, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 984

$500.00 Thousand
A CBO cost estimate found that implementing the study would cost about $500,000 over the next year or two, assuming availability of appropriated funds.

More Information

Of Note: 
From the NPS: "National historic trails commemorate historic (and prehistoric) routes of travel that are of significance to the entire Nation. They must meet all three criteria listed in Section 5(b)(11) of the National Trails System Act. Such trails are established by Act of Congress."


Sponsoring Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) Press Release

CBO Cost Estimate


(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Official Title

To amend the National Trails System Act to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study on the feasibility of designating the Chief Standing Bear National Historic Trail, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • The house Passed April 28th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands
      Committee on Natural Resources
    IntroducedFebruary 13th, 2015

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