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Sitting Bull (c. 1831 – December 15, 1890)

Sitting Bull was the son of Jumping Bull (father) and Her-Holy-Door (mother). His birth name was actually Jumping Badger, but his bravery during a raiding party whilst still a teen gained him a new name, "Buffalo Bull Who Sits Down." This eventually became Sitting Bull. He was born near to the Grand River (modern South Dakota). After participating in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain (1864) against U.S. forces, Sitting Bull found himself more involved in fighting for his beliefs...

Dan the Info-man
In the Lakota language of his tribe, Sitting Bull's name was Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake.

Fighting in Red Cloud's War

Sitting Bull continued to build on his reputation for maintaining freedom and independence from U.S. territorial desires. He fought in Red Cloud's War (1866-1868). The Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Northern Arapaho were victorious against U.S. forces but Sitting Bull was not satisfied by the peace agreements. He decided to keep fighting...

Dan the Info-man
This is an image of Red Cloud, who was a tribal chief of the Oglala Lakota.

The Black Hills War

The Black Hills War (the Great Sioux War of 1876) featured leaders like Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse taking on the might of the U.S. The American Indians did not want to give up their lands, but with gold found in the Black Hills (1874) there was considerable government interest in the area. American Indians not in reservations were labeled as "hostiles" and would be attacked by U.S. soldiers. One of Sitting Bull's victories at this time stands out in particular...

A vision becomes a reality

Sitting Bull apparently had a vision of U.S. soldiers being killed as they attacked Lakota people. Shortly after this prophecy, Custer and his men were soundly defeated at the Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876). However, thousands of U.S. reinforcements were sent to the area and with Sitting Bull refusing to surrender, there was only one option left for him. He had to leave his homeland...

Dan the Info-man
Image of graves at the Little Bighorn battlefield (Montana).

George Armstrong Custer

There are few characters of the Old West as divisive as George Armstrong Custer. Was the cavalry officer a hero or a murde...

George Armstrong Custer

Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull, with a part of his band, made his escape into British Territory, and, through the mediation of Dominion officials, surrendered on a promise of pardon.

Canada and surrender

By 1877, Sitting Bull realized the U.S. government was not going to cease hostilities and he fled to Canada with his family and followers. After four difficult years in Canada he returned to the U.S. and finally surrendered. He spent some time in captivity, before being released in 1883. A curious time in his life was about to begin...

Meeting Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill

Sitting Bull met Annie Oakley in 1884 and was highly impressed by her shooting skills. In 1885, he joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. He was a popular sight for audiences, but he only stayed for a few months. Sitting Bull soon returned to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation (North/South Dakota).

Sitting Bull - Wikipedia

Sitting Bull returned to the Standing Rock Agency after working in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. Tension between Sitting Bull and Agent McLaughlin increased and each became more wary of the other over several issues including division and sale of parts of the Great Sioux Reservation.

Death and legacy

In 1890, Sitting Bull was shot in a fight between some of his followers and Indian agency policemen (several people from both sides were killed). He was buried at Fort Yates (North Dakota), but it has been claimed his remains were much later moved to Mobridge (South Dakota) - nearer to his birthplace. He fought for his beliefs and his people for all his life, and even in his late 50s he was still considered a potential threat to the U.S. government.

Dan the Info-man
This image shows the memorial for Sitting Bull, around seven miles southwest of Mobridge.
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