Glyph 68 | Year 1890

Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake ktépi
(Bison-Bull Sitting-Down killed they)

They killed Sitting Bull.


Sitting Bull, Palmquist & Jurgens, photographer
c. 1884
Library of Congress
Copyright by Palmquist & Jurgens


Sitting Bull's Tepee and Family, Francis Barry, photographer
c. 1891
Library of Congress
Copyright by D.F. Barry


Sitting Bull was born around 1835 and was recognized for his hunting and warrior skills from a young age. As a leader among the Lakota, he represented those in the tribe who actively resisted relations with the white world, known as the non-treaty Indians. Sitting Bull became known for having a vision that foreshadowed the Battle of Little Bighorn, his participation with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, and his spiritual influence and leadership on the Northern Plains. In his later life, he was forced to live on the Standing Rock Reservation where Medicine Bear's Yanktonai community was also confined. By this time, Native peoples across the continent had experienced decades of cultural loss through forced assimilation and populations were a small fraction of what they once were.

From this loss grew the Ghost Dance Movement, started by the spiritual leader Wovoka of the Northern Paiute. This resistance movement was founded in the idea of Native tribes across the West and Southwest returning to their older traditions and values without the evils brought upon them by the white world. While Sitting Bull did not take part in the ceremony, many in his community did. Despite this, the Indian Agent of the Standing Rock Reservation, James McLaughlin, was highly threatened by Sitting Bull's influence on the Native community and on the early morning of December 15, 1890, Agent McLaughlin sent over forty Indian Police to Sitting Bull's cabin to arrest and interrogate him about the emergence of the Ghost Dance movement at Standing Rock. His door was kicked down and he was brought outside where a crowd gathered to protect him, and by daybreak, Sitting Bull, eight of his people, and six Indian Police were either dead or dying from a brief gun battle.

While Sitting Bull was not Yanktonai, he still would have been highly respected by Medicine Bear's people.


Elsewhere in the world:
Ellis Island is opened as an immigration depot.