November 16, 2008

Former governor writes about Indians

Students ask former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating the write questions"The Trial of Standing Bear” is Keating’s third book for children. The chief of the Ponca Tribe went to court in 1879 against the federal government and won recognition of Indians as individuals.

Keating, 64, was invited to read the book, which was released earlier this month, to three second-grade classes gathered last week in the library at Wilson Elementary School.

Because "Standing Bear” is more complex than his earlier books, Keating went through the book and told the story of how the Poncas were ordered in 1877 to move from Nebraska to Indian Territory in an area near Ponca City. Many got sick and died, including Standing Bear’s 12-year-old son. When he and 29 others returned a year later to bury the boy, they were arrested and Standing Bear became part of a legal case claiming his constitutional rights were violated.

Keating, who earlier has written about Will Rogers and President Theodore Roosevelt, writes next about former Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

He said he likes the challenge of writing in a simple, concise way that children can comprehend.

Keating, governor from 1995 to 2003, said the idea of writing came to him when Mike Wimmer, an artist who created Christmas cards for him, told him he was looking for an author for a book on Will Rogers that he was illustrating. Keating suggested himself as the writer.
Comment:  For more on Standing Bear, see First Civil Rights Activist and Standing Bear, Pop Icon. For more on Native-themed books, see The Best Indian Books.

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