Chief Standing Bear

In 1879, Chief Standing Bear (ca 1829–1908) won a landmark court ruling that determined a Native American was a person under the law with an inherent right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The stamp features a portrait of Chief Standing Bear by Thomas Blackshear II based on a black-and-white photograph taken of Standing Bear in 1877 while he was in Washington, D.C., as part of a delegation of Ponca chiefs. For the color of his attire, Blackshear drew upon contemporary descriptions.

In 1877, the U.S. Army had relocated some 700 Ponca to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) after the federal government had mistakenly given away the tribe’s homeland in the Niobrara River Valley in what is now northeastern Nebraska.

In a landmark civil rights case, Standing Bear v. Crook, Standing Bear sued the government for his freedom after being arrested, along with 29 other Ponca, for attempting to return to his homeland. Lawyers filed for a writ of habeas corpus to test the legality of the detention, an unprecedented filing on behalf of a Native American.

After winning the case, Standing Bear and the members of the Ponca who had followed him were allowed to return to their old Nebraska reservation along the Niobrara River. In 1924, one issue that his 1879 trial had raised was finally resolved when Congress adopted the Indian Citizenship Act, which conferred citizenship on all Native Americans born in the United States.

Derry Noyes served as art director and designer for this stamp.

The Chief Standing Bear stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce price.

Product Specification:
Issue:Chief Standing Bear Stamp
Item Number:483700
Denomination &First-Class Mail Forever
Type of Issue:
Format:Pane of 20 (1 design)
Issue Date & City:May 12, 2023, Lincoln, NE 68501
Art Director:Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Designer:Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Artist:Thomas Blackshear II
Modeler:Ty Schroeder
Manufacturing Process:Offset, Microprint
Printer:Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd (APU)
Press Type:Muller A76
Stamps per Pane:20
Print Quantity:18,000,000 stamps
Paper Type:Nonphosphored Type III, Block Tagged
Adhesive Type:Pressure-sensitive
Colors:Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Pantone 4625C
Stamp Orientation:Vertical
Image Area (w x h):0.84 x 1.42 in / 21.336 x 36.068 mm
Overall Size (w x h):0.98 x 1.56 in / 24.892 x 39.624 mm
Full Pane Size (w x h):8.5 x 7.24 in / 215.90 x 183.896 mm
Press Sheets Size (w x h):22.09 x 25.87 in / 561.086 x
Plate Size:180 stamps per revolution
Plate Number:“P” followed by five (5) single digits in two corners
Marginal Markings:
Front:Header: Chief Standing Bear • Plate number in bottom 2 corners
Back:©2022 USPS • USPS logo • Two barcodes (483700) • Plate position diagram (9) • Promotional text
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