Picks and Pans Review: The Trial of Standing Bear
updated 07/03/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/03/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT
In 1877 the U.S. government confiscated Nebraska land inhabited by the Ponca tribe, forcing its 500 members to move to Oklahoma on foot. The trip and the new environment killed a third of the tribe. Then its leader. Chief Standing Bear, and a few followers returned to their old land, where they were arrested. Their trial, which established that the Constitution applies to Native Americans, is the focus of this two-hour drama. It's pokey and dry, but good for you. As Standing Bear, Native American actor Ivan Naranjo delivers an eloquent courtroom plea that Indians are human too. It's a shocking insight into 19th-century bigotry.
Jeff Jarvis is on special assignement.