Sitting Bull

Sioux chief
Born: c.1831
Birthplace: on Grand River, S.D.

Sitting Bull was a Sioux warrior of the Hunkpapa Lakota tribe. He fought his first battle at age fourteen and quickly became known for his bravery and skill in combat; in 1857 he was named a tribal war chief. He led the Sioux against U.S. troops in a number of battles, most famously the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876—“Custer’s Last Stand.” Sitting Bull subsequently spent five years in exile in Canada. In 1881, impending starvation led him to surrender to the U.S. government, and after two years as a prisoner of war he was settled on the Standing Rock reservation in what is now North Dakota.

Even while confined to a reservation, Sitting Bull was regarded as a model of Indian resistance. He continued to openly criticize the U.S. government, defied reservation rules by having two wives, and was renowned as a holy man and a prominent follower of the illegal Ghost Dance religious movement. Nevertheless, he sent his children to a local Christian school because he believed it would benefit them to learn to read and write.

See also Encyclopedia: Sitting Bull.

Died: 1890

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