Chief Sitting Bull (c.1831-1890)

Chief Sitting Bull

“The Great Spirit has given our enemies to us.  We are to destroy them.”


  • Sitting Bull was named Jumping Badger at birth, but was nicknamed Slow because of his thoughtful nature.
  • This warrior was a Hunkpapa Lakota holy man, famous for resisting the U.S. government and its Manifest Destiny expansion.
  • During the Red Cloud war of 1866-1868 he led numerous war parties against the military.  He also made guerrilla attacks on prospectors and settlers encroaching on sacred Sioux lands.
  • This chief did not agree with the Treaty of Fort Laramie and refused to sign.
  • His continued resistance throughout the Great Sioux War (1876) at one point halted construction on the Northern Pacific Railway.
  • In a sun dance ceremony before the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull predicted the defeat of the Seventh Cavalry.
  • His leadership inspired this major victory against George Armstrong Custer’s troops.
  • To avoid the inevitable backlash, Sitting Bull fled to Canada, where he claimed political asylum until 1881.
  • This chief became a household name after starring in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  Here, he befriended Annie Oakley and named her Little Sure Shot.
  • Fearing he would join the dangerous Ghost Dance Movement, Sitting Bull was assassinated by Indian Agency Police in a botched attempt to arrest him.
  • His death was one of the precipitating factors that led to the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota, 1890.  It marked the end of the Great Sioux Nation.

Sources:, “Ten Things You May Not Know About Sitting Bull” at

Mooney, James, The Ghost-Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1991.

Wikipedia, “Sitting Bull” at


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