The Life and Death of Sitting Bull

  • Colin G. Calloway
Part of the The Bedford Series in History and Culture book series (BSHC)


Tatanka-Iyotanka, or Sitting Bull, is best known to non-Indians as the Hunkpapa Sioux chief who masterminded Custer’s defeat at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. In fact, as befitted a man in his mid-forties, whose arms were still swollen from the sacrifices made in the sun dance, Sitting Bull directed most of his energies that day to protecting the women and children. His major influence on the battle was exerted before the conflict began, in his vision of the soldiers falling into camp.


Indian Police Indian History Senate Select Committee Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collection Hunt Buffalo 
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  1. 1.
    The discussion of Sitting Bull’s life is based on Robert M. Utley, The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1993).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Thomas B. Marquis, Wooden Leg: A Warrior Who Fought Custer (Minneapolis: The Midwest Co., 1931), 178–79.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    M. W. Stirling, ‘Three Pictographic Autobiographies of Sitting Bull,” Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 95, no. 5 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1938).Google Scholar
  4. Thirty-two of the drawings, together with interpretations, are reproduced in Stanley Vestal, Sitting Bull, Champion of the Sioux (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1957). According to Vestal (p. 324), the interpretations of the exploits given in the Smithsonian collections “do not tally with the information given me by Indians who were present in the fights portrayed.”Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Stanley Vestal, ed., New Sources of Indian History, 1850–1891 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1934), 42, 45–47.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© BEDFORD BOOKS of St. Martin’s Press 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin G. Calloway
    • 1
  1. 1.Dartmouth CollegeUSA

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