Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull
by Ken West

Chief Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake)

     Just as the Sioux Indians have long been a symbol of all that is unique and admirable among the Native Americans, Sitting Bull has been a model of leadership among the Sioux.

     Born in 1831 to the Hunkpapa group of the Lakota people, in what is now South Dakota, Sitting bull was a deliberate, insightful child who gained leadership among his people for a combination of qualities.  Courageous in battle yet slow to anger, he was a member of the elite Strong Heart fighting association.

     Best known among his own people for his wisdom and visionary guidance, Sitting Bull came to see the need for Indians to join together in order to battle white invaders of the Lakota sacred lands.  When Colonel George Custer brought the Seventh Cavalry Division to the Black Hills, not to defend Indian treaty rights but to protect trespassing white gold miners, Sitting Bull called for a Sun Dance.  The visit brought favorable signs to the chief, and the most successful Indian battle ever was fought against the U.S. Cavalry at Little Bighorn.

     Victory at LIttle Bighorn brought a greater defeat.  Sitting Bull retreated in the face of renewed U.S. hostilities, then came back to the humiliation of reservation life.  His negotiations with government agents assisted in reuniting his people in the Dakotas, but his pride and independence, showing clearly in his face, was never compromised.

     Sitting Bull was arrested on Dec 15, 1890 by reservation police because he was promoting a new religion called the Ghost Dance.  When his followers tried to rescue him he was killed.  He was buried at Fort Yates, and in 1953 his remains were moved to Mobridge, South Dakota. A full biographical page comes with this print.

The original of this piece is available. This is a very large graphite painting and is absolutely beautiful.

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