Standing Bear’s Footsteps

Film Festival

Nov. 7–13, 2022


Standing Bear’s Footsteps is the story of an Indian chief who went to court to prove he was a person—and in the process redefined what it means to be an American. In 1877, the Ponca people were exiled from their Nebraska homeland to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. To honor his dying son’s last wish to be buried in his homeland, Chief Standing Bear set off on a grueling, six-hundred-mile journey home. Captured en-route, Standing Bear sued a famous U.S. army general for his freedom–choosing to fight injustice not with weapons, but with words. The Chief stood before the court to prove that an Indian was a person under the law. The story quickly made newspaper headlines–attracting powerful allies, as well as enemies.

Genre: Documentary, Feature
Theme: History

Christine Lesiak + Princella Parker

Christine Lesiak is an Emmy®-nominated, Peabody award-winning producer. Over the past 30 years, Lesiak’s documentaries have been broadcast on PBS and featured in the American Experience and American Masters series. Lesiak wrote and co-produced the American Masters special Willa Cather—The Road Is All, a 90-minute biography of a writer who was shaped by her childhood experience on the Great Plains. Her American Experience documentary, Monkey Trial, about the 1925 clash between science and religion, won both the Writer’s Guild Award and the George Foster Peabody Award in 2002. In the White Man’s Image, which tells of the 19th century government attempt to “kill the Indian and save the man” was nominated for a national Emmy and chosen by the Organization of American Historians as the best historical documentary of the year.

Lesiak’s PBS and American Experience programs include: Around the World in 72 Days, about stunt journalist Nellie Bly; Wild Horses—An American Romance, the story of the crusade to save the mustang; and Fate of the Plains, about the return of the bison to America’s last frontier. She was executive producer for the independent production Most Honorable Son, the story of Japanese American war hero Ben Kuroki, which premiered on PBS primetime in September, 2007.

Princella Parker is an enrolled member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. She is a media maker, who has worked in every aspect of television and video production from videographer, editor, and writer, to hair and make-up on production. Princella graduated in 2008 from Creighton University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Theatre. She assisted and edited the Native Daughter’s Documentary shot on the Omaha and Santee Indian Reservations with students from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. She is a 2008 Chips Quinn Scholar; interning as Multimedia Journalist at The News Leader in Springfield, MO and won a Chips Achievement Prize (CAP) Award for best multimedia storytelling. Princella is on the Board of Directors for Hopa Mountain, a non-profit organization that invests in rural and tribal citizen leaders in the Northern United States. She tutored and mentored Native American high school students in Omaha Public School’s NICE program and at the Crazy Horse Journalism Career Conference.


Tribal Affiliation: Christine Lesiak (None), Princella Parker (Omaha) Film Runtime: 56:46

Walt Pourier

Vice Chair

Walt is Oglala Lakota and created the logo for Urban Rez. He is Creative Director, owner of Nakota Designs Advertising Designs and Graphics. Executive Director of the Stronghold Society nonprofit dedicated to instilling hope and supporting youth movements through Live Life Call To Action Campaigns.