|The name Sioux derives
from the Chippeway word "Nadowessioux" which means
"Snake" or "Enemy". The Sioux were a proud people
with a rich heritage, they were the masters of the North American plains
and prairies, feared by other tribes from the great lakes to the
rockies. With an aboriginal population of more than 30,000 people in
seven different tribes throughout the great plaines, the Sioux Nation were one of the largest tribes in the western hemisphers.
The Sioux were a deeply spiritual people who communed with the spirit world through music and dance. Two of the most religious cermonies of the Siox was the Ghostdance and the Sundance. During the Ghostdance, participants worked themselves into a frenzy and could envision a future of Indian supremacy. In the Sundance a medicine man slits a manīs chest and slides a skewer through the flesh, then blowing an eagle-bone whistle and tethered to a central pole, the dancer begins tugging until the skewer is torn away. The torment fullfills a dancers sacred vowes, by dancing and enduring the pain of the self-inflicted wounds, each participant reasserted his identity as an Indian warrior.
But like other Indian religious ritual, these dances was denounced by whites.
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|Sitting Bull - Tatanka
Iyotake, Born about 1831 near Grand River, in present day South Dakota.
Belonging to the Hunkapapa group of Lakota people, the most northern of
the Tentonsiousīs seven tribes. Despite that his youthname was
"Hunkesni" - Slow - he proved in early years an unusual
go-ahead spirit, and would soon distinguish him self in the constant
dispute bettween other tribes. He was only 14 years old when he had his
first real war achievement, in a raid on the Crow. His total lack of
fear was soon to wide renowned. About 1856 Sitting Bull became a leader
of The Strong Heart warrior Society. He was also known as a religious
and cultural leader as well as an composer of songs. Sitting Bulls
followers strongly belived that it was his strong medicine that brought
them all this fortune of war. Sitting Bull himself also belived that
his power came from the serious and deep contacts he had with all the
mystic powers and supreme being of the Universe.
Widely respected for his bravery and insight, Sitting Bull became head chief of the Lakota Nation around 1868. Sitting Bull was and remaind a sworn enemy to the whites, and it wasenīt beacuse of any personal expirience, it was more because of his consistent attitude to the traditional Indian standar of living. He consider that any approaching to the whites would implacable break down the Indian culture. His apprehension fortify in his belief when he saw the fast outgoing morality that were occuring in the tracks of the whites, were diseases, alcoholism were spreading like wildfire in the Indian villages.
The Indians soon realised that the existence of their society were depending of more stronger organization. They started to look for strong leaders who would gather the widspread crowed of warriors. This was a hole new way of warfare for them and the chosen one, were Sitting Bull who got many well known warchiefs by his side, like Crazy Horse, American Horse, Gall and many others. This new Organization were soon put into a big test when the whites found gold in the Black Hills in 1874. The Black Hills was a sacred place to many tribes and was placed off-limits to all white settlements by the Fort Laramie treaty of 1868, which said; No white person or persons shall be permited to settle or occupy any portion of territory, or without the consent of the Indians to pass through same. But when the Goverment efforts to purchase the Black Hills faield, they put the Fort Laramie treaty aside and all Lakota not settled on reservation by January 31 1876 was considered hostile.
After the battle of Rosenbud on June 17 were Crazy Horse faught the American soldiers, the Lakota moved their camp to the valley of Little Big Horn, to celibrate their victory over the white soldiers. They were soon joined bu more than 3000 other Indians who had left their reservations to follow Sitting Bull. And here. on June 25th, they were attacked by the 7th U.S Cavalry regement led by George Armstrong Custer. The U.S cavalry were outnumbered and after the battle all of the 7th U.S cavalry had been killed. Among them George. Aī. Custer.
After this major defeat the goverment sent out thousands more cavalry to the area, many Sioux men, women and children were killed, and chief after chief were forced to surrender but Sitting Bull remained defiant. In may 1877 he led his band across the border into Canada, beyond the reach of the U.S army.
Four years later, finding it impossible to feed his people, Sitting Bull realized that he couldnīt do anything about this hopelessess situation since the Canadian goverment couldnīt or wouldnīt do anything to help them. So on July 19 1881 Sitting Bull finally came South to surrender to the commanding officer Major david Brotherton of Fort Buford. After his rifle was handed over Sitting Bull said "I wish it to be rememberd that I was the last one of my tribe to surrender my rifle".
His people were sent to "Standing Rock Reservation" and him self were sent to Fort Randall were he and his followers were held for nearly two years as prisoners of war. On May 10 1883 Sitting Bull finnaly rejoined his tribe again at Standing Rock were he immediately became the central figure and leader again. The remaining seven years of Sitting Bulls life became one big strugle with the agent James McLaughlin who did whatever he could to try to break the old chiefs power and domination of the reservation.
In 1885 Sitting Bull had a short break in his constant struggle when he was allowed to leave the reservation to join Buffalo Bills wild west show, earning 50 dollar a week for ridning once around the arena. Unable to tolerate white society any longer Sitting Bull returned to Standing Rock after only four month on the show. Once he returned to Standing Rock Sitting Bull lived in a cabin on the Grand River, near were he had been born, refusing to give up his old ways as the reservation rules required, still living with two wives and rejecting christianity.
In the fall 1890 when the disturbances about the Ghostdance -"A ceremony that promised to ride the land of the white pople and restore the Indians way of life"- reached the Standing Rock Reservation Major McLaughlin feared that Sitting Bull, still reverd as a spirutal leader would once again join his pople into a new war path. The Lakota had already adopted the ceremony at the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. McLaughlin sent out 43 Lakota police men to bring Sitting Bull down, and before dawn on Monday, December 15 1890 the police men burst into his cabin and dragged him outside, were his followers were gathering to protect him. In the gunfight that followed, one of the Lakota policemen put a bullet through Sitting Bulls head. The exchange of gunfire resulted in the death of six Indian policemen and seven of Sitting Bulls followers, including his son CrowFoot, who was only seventeen years old.
Sitting Bull were buried at Fort Yates in North Dakota, but his remains were moved to Mobridge, South Dakota in 1953, were a granite shaft marks his grave. He was Rememebered among the Lakota not only as an inspiritonal leader and fearless warrior, but also as a loving father, a gifted singer, a man always affable and friendly toward others, whose deep religious faith gave him prophetic insight and lent special powers to his prayers...
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