Monday, September 8, 2008

Native American Warriors: Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull (whose real name was Tatanka Iyotaka) was born about 1831 near the Grand River in South Dakota. He was the main chief and medicine man of the Dakota Sioux, who were driven from their reservation in the Black Hills by miners in 1876, and took up arms against the whites and friendly Indians, refusing to be transported to the Indian lands.

In June, 1876, they defeated and massacred Gen. George A. Custer's advance party of Gen. Alfred H. Terry's column, which was sent against them, on Little Big Horn River. Because of their victory, they were pursued northward by General Terry.

In the months after the battle, Sitting Bull fled the United States to Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan, Canada, where he remained, and, through the mediation of Dominion officials, surrendered to the American military police on a promise of pardon in 1881.

After his return to the United States, he briefly toured as a performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show and traveled to the major cities in America and even with the show when it went to Europe. He was not impressed by white society and their version of civilization. He was shocked and saddened to see the number of homeless people living on the streets of American cities. He warned other Indians to be wary of what they accept from white culture.

After working as a performer, Sitting Bull returned to the Standing Rock Agency in South Dakota. Because of fears that he would use his influence to support the Ghost Dance movement, Indian Affairs authorities (who were Indians themselves) ordered his arrest. During a fight between Sitting Bull's followers and the reservation agents, Sitting Bull was shot in the side and head on December 15, 1890 by American police after they were fired upon by his supporters.

His body was taken to nearby Fort Yates for burial, but in 1953, his remains possibly were exhumed and reburied near Mobridge, South Dakota by Sioux who wanted his body to be nearer to his birthplace. However, some Sioux and historians dispute this claim and believe that any remains that were moved were not those of Sitting Bull.

After his death, his cabin on the Grand River was taken to Chicago to become part of the 1893 Columbian Exhibition (the exhibition where the first Ferris wheel appeared). It was exhibited along with Native American dances and a sign that said "War Dance Given Daily." He became the subject of several Hollywood movies. Even today, Sitting Bull is still remembered as an archetype of Native American resistance movements. Find out more about him at:

Research info gathered at:

Now, here's one of my feathered with a feathered headdress:

Ignition Or Perdition

She reads my leaves.

First, she tells me that very shortly my life will become smooth
as a blister and that good fortune will allow me to drink from
Cinderella's slipper. There will be two omens to serve as
forewarnings; a groundhog will emerge from my
mouth looking for its shadow and an elaborate
grid-work of spider webs will appear
between my toes, several days
before the revelation. But
she also cautions me
to pick the
right Monk tune next time
I play a jazz album or I might face
the possibility of becoming an eternal
extra in a Fellini movie. Once success comes,
I should stash the loot under my mattress and schedule
the next bank hoist on a day when someone I trust can drive
the get-away car. After all, both humor and horror can be depicted
from the back of a dirt bike, competing for shiny awards in a
timeless paradox. When she's done, I pay the minimal
fee and step back out into the night, where the
cosmos waits to deal with me from its
simmering lobster pot.

Poem first published at:
Poem Copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All rights Reserved.


sam of the ten thousand things said...

Enjoyed this post.

I've tagged you for a meme.

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