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[graphic] Ponca Tribal Self-Help Community Building District


[photo]
Rear of the Ponca Tribal Self-Help Community Building
Photo courtesy of the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office
The Ponca Tribal Self-Help Community Building District is significant for its association with Social History and the Indian Emergency Conservation Work (IECW) program, a New Deal program designed to provide relief for American Indians during the Great Depression. The Ponca Tribal Self-Help Community Building was constructed in 1936 and designed as a vocational training building, but was also used to meet the cultural needs of the Ponca Tribe and to serve as a meeting place for the governing bodies of the tribes. In addition to government, tribal members have used the building for funerals and wakes, a tradition and custom that is still carried on today. According to Rocky “Nico” Mercier, a former Director of Cultural Affairs for the Ponca, individuals from various Indian nations used to travel from the four directions to the Ponca Community Building to take part in Tribal War Dances and Ponca celebrations held in the main hall. Significant to the Ponca as a meeting place, learning and cultural center, the Ponca Self-Help Community Building Historic District has once again risen to become an important focal point for the Ponca.

[photo] The Community Building on the right with caretakers cottage on left
Photo courtesy of the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office

The Ponca Tribal Self-Help Community Building is a one and a half story frame building featuring side gables with shed extensions on both the front and rear facades. Each façade of the building is different, though the repeated use of multi-light windows, the same exterior doors, and wood shingle siding unifies the look and feel of the building. Five contributing structures include a pump house, a pump house with a windmill, a privy, an outbuilding, and an outdoor fireplace constructed of stone. The Ponca Tribal Self-Help Community Building District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on March 13, 2003.

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