SITTING BULL (AMERICAN FLAG T-Shirt
Sitting Bull (Sioux: Tatanka Iyotake or Tatanka Iyotanka or Ta-Tanka I-Yotank, first named Hunkesni, Slow), (c. 1831 – December 15, 1890) was a Hunkpapa Lakota chief and holy man who has become notable in the history of Native Americans and the USA, primarily because he was one of the few members of his race to be part of a major victory against the American army when his premonition of defeating them at the battle of Little Big Horn became reality.------------------Little is known of the early life of Sitting Bull, his birth date and place is the subject of conjecture mainly to his people’s lack of a written history. So much of what is known about the man comes after he came to the attention of the white US military. Sitting Bull was given the name Tatanka-Iyotanka at his birth, which describes a buffalo bull sitting intractably on its haunches. This when translated into English became known as Sitting Bull, and although not his real name, it would be the one he would reach world-wide fame towards the end of his life time. He was born around 1831 on the Grand River in present-day South Dakota, at a place the Lakota called Many Caches as it was used for food storages pits for the tribe to see out the winter. As a young man, perhaps only about 14, he joined in a raid on the Crow Nation, and saw his first encounter with American soldiers in June 1863, when the army mounted a broad campaign in retaliation for the Santee Rebellion in Minnesota, in which Sitting Bull’s people played no part. --------------------------------------- The following year it was likely he was involved when his tribe clashed with U.S. troops at the Battle of Killdeer Mountain. The battle was a decisive victory for the army and left the Native Americans badly beaten, mainly because of the artillery used by the army, which devastated the Sioux.---------------The Battle of Killdeer Mountain had struck a hammer blow against Native American resistance and many chiefs gave up the fight and went to reservations. During this time Sitting Bull refused to surrender and rose to be a tribal leader leading his warriors in a siege against the newly constructed Fort Rice in present-day North Dakota. This action won him huge respect amongst the tribe and he became head chief of the Lakota nation in about 1868. This was at a time when white settlers, miners, farmers, missionaries, railroad workers and military personal all began to expand the United States the Native Americans were increasingly being forced from their own tribal lands. Sitting Bull as a medicine man, a witch doctor for the Native Americans, began to work to unite his people against this invasion. Like many tribal leaders Sitting Bull attempted to make peace and trade with the whites at first, but many of the men they encountered would trick them into poor deals for their lands and produce, creating resentment amongst the tribes. When his people were driven from their reservation in the Black Hills, still considered holy by the Native Americans, after the discovery of gold in 1876, he took up arms against the whites and refused to be transported to the Indian territory.---------------On June 25, 1876, the tribe fought, defeated and massacred the 7th Cavalry under the command of brigadier general George Armstrong Custer. Custer’s advance party, of General Alfred Howe Terry ’s column, attacked the tribes at their camp on the Little Big Horn River. The Native Americans, after being inspired by a vision of Sitting Bull’s where he saw U.S soldiers being killed as they entered the tribe’s camp, fought back. Before the battle more than 3000 Native Americans, many more than the army thought, had left the reservations they had been forced on to or bribed to go to so they could follow Sitting Bull. Custer's badly outnumbered troops lost ground quickly and were forced to retreat as they realized the true numbers of the Native American force and, as if in fulfillment of Sitting Bull’s vision, were quickly driven out by the tribes. The tribes then led a counter-attack against the Soldiers on a nearby ridge, where they were wiped out, despite fighting fiercely against overwhelming odds. ------------------------------------------ The victory placed Sitting Bull among the great Native America leaders along with fellow Little Big Horn veteran Crazy Horse and Apache freedom fighter Geronimo. But, the Native Americans' celebrations were short lived as following the battle a public outrage at the military catastrophe, and the death of the popular Custer, brought thousands more cavalrymen to the area, and over the next year they relentlessly pursued the Lakota forcing many to surrender. Sitting Bull refused to surrender and in May 1877 he led his band across the border into Canada, where he would remain in exile for a number of years refusing a pardon and the chance to return.-------------------------------Back at Standing Rock Sitting Bull became interested in the Ghost Dance movement, although it has never been shown he joined it, he certainly allowed others in the tribe to do so. The movement's followers believed performing the ghost dance would make them impervious to the bullets fired by white soldiers. The authorities feared Sitting Bull as a popular spiritual leader would give more creditability to the movement and decided to arrest him. Pre-empting the army, 43 Indian police attempted to arrest him on December 15, 1890 at the Standing Rock Agency. However, his followers were still loyal and fearing the army meant to kill Sitting Bull a fight broke out as they tried to prevent the arrest. Shots were fired and Sitting Bull, who was hit in the head, and his son Crow Foot were both killed. Sitting Bull's body was taken by the Indian police to Fort Yates North Dakota and buried in the military cemetery. Later in 1953, it is claimed by Native Americans, his remains were transported to Mobridge in South Dakota where a granite shaft marks his grave. He is still remembered among the Lakota not only as an inspirational leader and fearless warrior but 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 power to his prayers.