Sitting Bull was a Teton Dakota Indian chief under whom the Sioux tribes united in their struggle for survival on the North American Great Plains. He was born in 1831 in what is now known as Grand River, South Dakota. Sitting Bull was named Tatanka-Iyotanka, a Lakota name that describes a buffalo bull sitting on its haunches. From an early age Sitting Bull looked up to his father, an esteemed Sioux warrior named Returns-Again.
Despite his desire to follow in his father’s footsteps, at an early age Sitting Bull did not show talent for warfare. At age 10, he killed his first buffalo. As he gained experience his skills developed, at the age of 14 he joined his first war party and soon gained a reputation for bravery in battle. As a young adult, Sitting Bull was chosen as the leader of the Strong Heart Society. His life was shaped by a series of struggles with an ever expanding American nation. In 1863, at age 32, Sitting Bull took up arms for the first time against the United States and then again in 1864 at the Battle of Killdeer Mountain. In 1865, he led an attack on Fort Rice located in what was to become North Dakota. The skills achieved as a warrior and respect earned as a leader led to his being chosen as chief of the Lakota nation in 1868.
Confrontations escalated with American soldiers in the mid-1870's after gold was discovered in the Black Hills. The Black Hills was a sacred area to the Native Americans. The 1868 Fort Laramie treaty guaranteeing to the Lakota ownership of the Black Hills, as well as further land and hunting rights in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. In June 1876, at the Sun Dance Ceremony held in a village on the Little Bighorn River, Sitting Bull danced for 36 consecutive hours. He finished his performance by informing the tribe that he had seen a vision in which the American Army was defeated. A few days later Sitting Bull led a successful battle against the American forces at the Battle of Rosebud. A...