Cherokee Morning Song

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

(1831?–1890), Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux chief


One of the most significant of all Indian leaders, Sitting Bull achieved distinction not only as a war leader but as a political chief and spiritual leader as well. His record in war with enemy tribes was exemplary even before he came to the notice of whites in the 1860s. Sitting Bull played a leading role in the fighting with the forces of U.S. Army generals Henry H. Sibley, Alfred Sully, and Patrick E. Connor, who led strong columns into Sioux ranges of Dakota and Montana in 1863–65. After the Treaty of 1868, Sitting Bull was principal leader of the bands that scorned the reservation and came to be known as hostiles. He was present at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, 25–26 June 1876 but as an “old man” chief did not take a conspicuous part in the fighting. As Sitting Bull's coalition fell apart under military pressure, in 1877 he and a small following sought refuge in Canada. Dwindling buffalo resources forced his surrender and return to the United States in July 1881. At the Standing Rock Reservation he feuded with the reservations agent and assumed a prominent role in the Ghost Dance troubles of 1889–90. On 15 December 1890, while attempting his arrest, Indian policemen shot and killed him.

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