JULY 19, 1881


Born in the Grand River Valley in current South Dakota, Sitting Bull gained early recognition as a warrior and a man of vision within the Sioux nation.  He soon gained a following among the Cheyenne and Arapaho as well.  In 1867, he became principal chief of the entire Sioux nation.  While not a strategic leader at the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull’s spiritual influence inspired Crazy Horse and other victorious Indian military leaders.  After that battle, he fled to Canada, but in 1881, with his people starving, he returned to the United States and surrendered.  He was held as a prisoner of war at Fort Randall in South Dakota territory for two years and then was permitted to live on Standing Rock Reservation.  His support of the Ghost Dance movement brought him into disfavor with government officials, and on December 15, 1890, Indian police burst into his house and attempted to arrest him.  Sitting Bull was fatally shot and died within hours. 

Source:  “1881:  Sitting Bull Surrenders,” History, 3/3/2010.  Retrieved 7/6/2019, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/sitting-bull-surrenders
Photo:  David F. Barry (1854-1934), circa 1883. Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Likely Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.

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