View Full Version : What do you know about Sitting Bull?

09-12-2008, 09:31 PM
I am currently writing a play about Sitting Bull. One of the main goals of my play is to try (as much as I can) to show who he really was. There are many myths and misrepresentations about him. I see it all the time in older books and articles I've collected during my research. Now, I'd like to pose the question to the people at this site as another way to gather data on what people know about this great man.

So, tell me what you know about Sitting Bull. I want your real thoughts. I ask that people allow this to be an open place for me to gather data. There will probably be ideas shared that are not historically correct. Please let it go. That is the kind of thing I want to know.

I thank you for your time and contribution to my research.

09-12-2008, 09:56 PM
I honestly know very little about him, outside of the fact that he was a shaman/wise man and was most likely the victim of propaganda (as was most of his race).

Though I have heard the story that, after Little Big Horn, he summoned up the spirit of Custer (whose wife proved to be a master of PR and propaganda) and had a little chat. Don't remember what it was about, though.

09-12-2008, 10:15 PM
He sat alot and told crazy stories.;)

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself.

09-12-2008, 10:15 PM
He sat alot and told crazy stories.;)

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself.

09-12-2008, 11:21 PM
:ROFL:I have to tell that one to Mr. Two Bears (one of my the people I work with). He is gonna get a kick out of it.

09-12-2008, 11:41 PM
He portrayed his bio in pictographs, some of which I saw in an American Heritage article, THERE ARE NO INDIANS LEFT BUT ME (a Sitting Bull Quote) and the rest you know what I know from your other thread. I believe his name translates more as The Sitting Bull -- no Donald Trump poof for hair though.

Many poor translations of Indian names. The Rain-in-the-Face should have been closer to He Whose Face Clouds with Rage When Angry.

My favorite name is for the 7' Chief: The Touch the Clouds.

09-12-2008, 11:51 PM
After the Custer massacre, Sitting Bull and his band headed for Canada. Although he is reputed to have foreseen the battle at the Little Big Horn and it's aftermath, he and his group headed for Canada. They surrendered to authorities after a hard winter in 1881 and he was jailed for a couple of years. Then released to go to the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota.

In the mid-1880's , Sitting Bull became part of Buffalo Bill Cody's "Wild West Shows" and traveled widely. The Wild West shows were a major attraction at the time, combining the popularity of the West with circus like fun.

After retiring from the show, Sitting Bull went home to the reservation but the authorities feared he might lend support to a movement to restore the Ghost Dance, had him arrested and in a scuffle, he was shot in the head and died.

Whether or not he was involved in the Ghost Dance or not, the events surrounding it led to the Wounded Knee massacre in 1890, same year that Sitting Bull died.

Off the cuff, that's the highlights of what I remember.

Mike Martyn
09-13-2008, 12:57 AM
[quote=poof for hair though.

Many poor translations of Indian names. The Rain-in-the-Face should have been closer to He Whose Face Clouds with Rage When Angry.


The story I heard was he got into a fist fight with another boy when he was ten and broke his nose so badly that the blood spurted out like rain.

Speaking from personal experience a badly broken nose really does that.

09-13-2008, 03:20 AM
When I was a youngster living adjacent to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, one of the local Indians told stories of being a participant in the Custer battle. He said he was 14 at the time, and that it was his first battle. He said he knew Sitting Bull and other Sioux chiefs, but since he was somewhere near 100-years-old, no one ever knew how much was fact and how much was made up, or flawed memory.

I think it was the Minot Daily News that interviewed him sometime in the early-mid fifties. I don't know if they have searchable files going back that far, and I don't recall if the story said anything about Sitting Bull, but it might be worth an e-mail to find out.

The old man took the name of a white politician at the time...Adlai Stevenson. I don't know if he went by his Indian name later in life. If he did, I don't recall it.

Other than that, I don't know anything about Sitting Bull that hasn't been published in a dozen books. I recall that there was a lot of internal conflict between various factions of the Sioux leadership, and that his killing was intentional, but it should be made clear that he was killed by the Indian Police, not the Army.

09-13-2008, 06:32 AM
Some great responses. This is exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks and please keep the comments coming.

09-13-2008, 06:35 AM
I know that he and Annie Oakley were very good friends. Don't know if that helps any. Probably not.

09-13-2008, 07:37 AM
It does help. I want to know how much or how little people know. It will help me pick and choose what parts of the story to tell (aside from the given ones). Thanks for your input.

09-16-2008, 05:25 AM
Seriously, anyone feel free to contribute. I want to find out what facts are out there. Thanks.

Appalachian Writer
09-16-2008, 06:07 AM
Read Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. There's lots of Sitting Bull stories. For example, he gave away every dime he made while working the wild west show. He said something to the effect that he could tell that white men were no good from the way they treated their poor. Another example, he was asked to speak at the joining of the east and west railroad. The government prepared his text and employed a translator. Sitting Bull agreed to the text, but when the time came, he ignored what the government had written. The translator didn't. One more: he got out of jail and returned to the reservation. The government officers on the res called a mandatory meeting, but left Sitting Bull out of the picture. He went anyway. He stood up to speak, and one of the officials asked who he was. He said, "I'll show you who I am." He lifted his arm parallel to the floor and swept it back toward the door. The meeting hall emptied. I'm sort of a fan of his.

09-18-2008, 12:17 AM
I read Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, a long time ago.
If I was asked about Sitting Bull now, bearing in mind I'm in the UK, I know that he was a Plains Indian leader who fought the US Cavalry (Sioux?) and ended up on a reservation - but not a lot more than that.

09-18-2008, 12:32 AM
As is often the case with extraordinary people, Tatanka Iyotaka (Sitting Bull),was murdered by his own people. He was stabbed in the back as he was being escorted from his his holding cell.

09-18-2008, 12:24 PM
I did hear that he wasn't born Sitting Bull (I believe it involved a Badger).

Also, a documentary told me that before his scrap with Custer he consulted the spirits. The spirits told him that he'd be victorious but that he and his warriors shouldn't loot the bodies afterwards (as was common). If they did, the spirits told him, the consequences would be dire.

09-18-2008, 06:03 PM
I thought they did loot the bodies, they certainally mutilated them.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has heard any stories about his relationship with Crazy Horse? That aspect always interested me.

09-18-2008, 07:01 PM
I thought they did loot the bodies, they certainally mutilated them.They did loot the bodies, yes.
But Sitting Bull warned them not to.

09-24-2008, 05:36 AM
Thanks, this is great stuff. The more the merrier.