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Interior: Longhorn Bull
Sitting Bull Hagiography
Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota chief and holy man, was born in 1831 in present-day South Dakota. He was given the name Tatanka-Iyotanka, which describes a buffalo bull sitting intractably on its haunches, a name he would live up to throughout his life. He first went to battle at age 14 and became head chief of the Lakota nation in 1868. When gold was discovered in the Black Hills, prospectors rushed the sacred area, despite the Fort Laramie Treaty which banned white settlement, culminating in 1876, when Custer’s 7th Cavalry attacked the Sioux at their camp on the Little Big Horn River. Custer’s forces were outnumbered and defeated, but over the next year, the US Army continued their pursuit, forcing chief after chief to surrender. Sitting Bull remained defiant and in 1877 led his band across the border into Canada. Four years later, finding it impossible to feed his people in a world where the buffalo was almost extinct, Sitting Bull came south to surrender. He was sent to Fort Randall, where he and his followers were held for two years as prisoners of war. Finally, in 1883, he rejoined his tribe at Standing Rock. In 1885 Sitting Bull briefly joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West to help support his people but found the entertainment show to be intolerable. In 1890, the authorities feared Sitting Bull’s influence and sent 43 Lakota policemen to bring him in. In the gunfight that ensued, one of the Lakota policemen put a bullet through Sitting Bull's head. He was buried at Fort Yates in North Dakota, and in 1953 his remains were moved to Mobridge, South Dakota. Sitting Bull is remembered not only as an inspirational leader and fearless warrior but as a loving father and gifted singer, whose deep faith gave him prophetic insight.