Sitting Bull

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Sitting Bull (1831-1890) - Born in 1831 in Grand River, Dakota Territory. A Sioux Indian Leader and Warrior who rose to the leadership in the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux Indian band. He was killed on 15 Dec 1890, on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Also known as Tatanka-Iyotanka.

Sitting Bull Photograph and Autograph.

Early Years

Sitting Bull was born in Dakota Territory in 1831 and was named Jumping Badger at birth. When Jumping Badger was fourteen years old he participated in a raiding party against a camp of Crow warriors and demonstrated bravery in the encounter. After the raid his father bestowed his own name on the boy and Jumping Bear became Sitting Bull. His father then took the name Jumping Bull.

The Indian Wars

In 1867 Sitting Bull was inaugurated as head chief of the Teton Sioux. In 1868 he accepted the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) at Fort Laramie at the urging of Father Pierre Jeane DeSmet. By 1876 violations of the treaty and increasing settlement had caused Sitting Bull to gather a force of warriors and prepare to battle the U.S. Army. This is the force that General George A. Custer ran into on 25 Jun 1876. Following the massare of Custer and his command, Sitting Bull took his people into exile in Canada. He returned to the U.S. when the Canadian government failed to provide support for his band.


Sitting Bull and the remaining members of his band made their way to Fort Buford where they surrendered on 20 Jul 1881 to Major David H. Brotherton, Fort Buford's commander. From Fort Buford the band was moved further south to Fort Randall where they remained from July 1881 to November 1883. From Fort Randall the group was moved to the Standing Rock Agency and Fort Yates.

The Showman

Sitting Bull and His Family at Fort Randall

In 1884 Sitting Bull was permitted to go on tour in a western show. On tour he met Annie Oakley and was so impressed with her sharpshooter skills that he symbolically "adopted" her as a daughter in 1884. Sitting Bull returned to the Standing Rock Agency in South Dakota at the end of the tour.

In 1885, Sitting Bull was allowed to tour with Buffalo Bill Cody’s, Buffalo Bill's Wild West show for four months. He earned about $50 a week for riding around the arena and he sold his autograph and picture for extra money.


Indian Service agent James McLaughlin ordered the arrest of Sitting Bull on 15 Dec 1890 on charges that he was supporting the Ghost Dance movement. A struggle ensued between Sitting Bull's followers and the agency police. Sitting Bull and seven of his supporters were killed. Six policemen were killed outright and two more died later.

Sitting Bull's body was taken to nearby Fort Yates for burial and was later moved to Mobridge, South Dakota, a granite shaft marks his presumed grave.

Father: Jumping Bull

Mother: Her-Holy-Door


  • Light Hair
  • Four Robes
  • Snow-on-Her
  • Seen-by-her-Nation
  • Scarlet Woman


  • Crow Foot (son)
  • Many Horses (daughter)
  • One Bull (adopted son)
  • Walks Looking (adopted daughter)


  • Battle of Killdeer Mountains 28–29 Jul 1864
  • Battle of the Badland 7–9 Aug 1864
  • Battle of Powder River 17 Mar 1876
  • Battle of the Rosebud 17 Jun 1876
  • Battle of Little Bighorn 25 Jun 1876
  • Battle of Crow Indian Reservation 1876



  • Pope, Dennis C., Sitting Bull, Prisoner of War, Dakota State Historical Press, 30 Nov 2010, ISBN-13: 978-0982274941, 187 pages.


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