Monday, June 19, 2017

The Greatness of Sitting Bull

"I wish it to be remembered that I was the last man of my tribe to surrender my rifle."  -Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull was born a member of the Lakota Sioux tribe in South Dakota, a land known as 'Many-Caches' by his people.  His father, Jumping Bull, named him 'Slow' because he was cautious and careful in his actions.  By the age of ten he had killed his first buffalo and by fourteen joined a war party and knocked a Crow tribesman off his horse, earning him the name 'Buffalo Bull who Sits Down' or Thathanka Lyotanka for his bravery.  
"Each man is good in his sight.  It is not necessary for eagles to be crows."  -Sitting Bull

As Sitting Bull grew older and more and more white settlers entered his land, he began to take up arms.  In 1868 he supported Red Cloud in his war against the American Forts but opposed all treaties signed with the U.S. government.  By 1869 Sitting Bull was considered Supreme Chief of the Lakota Sioux Nation. In 1874, when gold was discovered in the Black Hills, he refused to be 'Shut up in a corral' after being ordered off his lands to the reservation.  Forming a war party with neighboring Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, he defeated General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876 after receiving a vision of U.S. soldiers 'falling like grasshoppers from the sky.'  The victory was costly and Sitting Bull and his people retreated to Canada until finally surrendering in 1881 and finding life on the reservation.  
"They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own use, and fence their neighbors away from her, and deface her with their building and their refuse."  -Sitting Bull

Ten years later in 1890, after creating a mysterious religious group known as 'The Ghost Dancers'  believing that God would make the white people leave and the buffalo return, Sitting Bull was planning on fleeing the reservation and forming another great resistance to the U.S. government, but he was arrested and killed by Indian police in an act of revenge he himself predicted.  His warriors, wanting revenge, gathered along the Wounded Knee Creek to perform the Ghost Dance but were massacred by U.S. forces.  
"When I was a boy the Sioux owned the world.  The sun rose and set on their land; they sent ten thousand men to battle.  Where are the warriors today?  Who slew them? Where are our lands?  Who owns them?"  -Sitting Bull

By all accounts, Sitting Bull led an amazing life.  He was a man of 'great medicine,' who led his people to inspiring victory and mystic understanding.   For a time, he even joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West show witnessing the greatness and the folly of American culture.  He is remembered for his wisdom and courage, and his death signifies the end of the mighty Sioux nation.


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