Ponca Tribe of Nebraska’s Powwow Grounds, Museum, and Educational Trail

Ponca Tribe of Nebraska’s Powwow Grounds, Museum, and Educational Trail are a unique experience that show off and educate the long history of the Ponca people. The land is located on the ancestral homeland of the Ponca people and was part of their reservations in the 1800-1900’s. The building where the museum is located was built in the 1930’s with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps to serve as the headquarters for tribal government and as a community building for the Northern Ponca members. It has since been repurposed as an office site and museum displaying Ponca artifacts from different eras to tell our story.

The Tribe’s Powwow Arena was placed next to the Museum for that historical and cultural significance. Considering the fact that many Ponca members no longer live in Niobrara, it provides an opportunity for them to come back to the homeland and feel that connection to the earth. The Annual Norther Ponca Powwow is held on the 2nd weekend of August and is open to all who wish to join in a celebration of Ponca culture.

Around the Powwow grounds and Museum, an educational trail was put in. Along this path are statues that depict traditional Ponca stories such as How the Rabbit Caught the Sun and the Coyote and the Turkeys. There is also a recreation of a traditional Ponca earth lodge for visitors to enter and experience. During work hours, staff is available at the museum to give guided tours to tell these stories and explain more about Ponca history and culture.

The crowning jewel is the statue of Chief Standing Bear overlooking the grounds. Now with a road and a parking lot, the statue represents an important moment in Ponca history when Chief Standing Bear fought for the right, in court, for the Ponca to return to Niobrara after being relocated to Oklahoma. If visitors are lucky, the Tribe’s buffalo herd can be visible from here, too.

Come visit to learn more about the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska!

Contact Information

Nick Mauro
Reservations and Information:

88915 521st Ave Niobrara, NE 68760

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Other Information

  • Hours Open

    The Museum is open M-F, 8-4. The Trail is open from sunrise to sunset every day. Guided tours are available during the same time as the museum. The Annual Northern Ponca Powwow is held during the 2nd weekend of August.
  • Seasons Open

    The Museum and Educational Trail are open all year round.
  • Prices and Fees

    Entry into the grounds and museum is free.
  • Accessibility

    The Educational Trail has recently been paved to make accessibility easier for those with limited mobility. This includes a statue of Chief Standing Bear on a hill overlooking grounds where a road was put in some individuals can drive up there. The Museum has an access ramp as well to improve accessibility. There is both parking at the trail head and museum as well as at the statue.
  • Locally or Family Owned Notes

    The grounds on which this property is located is owned and operated by the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.
  • Pet Friendly Notes

    Pets are allowed on the trail