Sitting Bull

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull, c.1831–1890, Native American chief, Sioux leader in the battle of the Little Bighorn. He rose to prominence in the Sioux warfare against the whites and the resistance of the Native Americans under his command to forced settlement on a reservation led to a punitive expedition. In the course of the resistance occurred the Native American victory on the Little Bighorn, where George Armstrong Custer and his men were defeated and killed on June 25, 1876. Sitting Bull and some of his followers escaped to Canada, but returned (1881) on a promise of a pardon and were settled on a reservation. In 1885 he appeared in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, but his championship of the Native American cause was not at an end. He encouraged the Sioux to refuse to sell their lands, and he advocated the Ghost Dance religion. He was killed by Native American police on a charge of resisting arrest. He was buried in North Dakota, but in 1954 his remains were removed to South Dakota.

See J. M. Carroll, ed., The Arrest and Killing of Sitting Bull: A Documentary (1986); biographies by S. Vestal (rev. ed. 1957, repr. 1972), A. B. Adams (1973), and K. B. Smith (1987); N. Philbrick, The Last Stand (2010).

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