Sitting Bull: Letters, Newspaper Clippings, Reminiscenses

 

Welch notes on Sitting Bull…birth, family, youth, Warrior status, Little Big Horn, Flight to Canada.

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TATANKAN EYOTANKA or SITTING BULL (1915 notes):

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Perhaps the most noted of the famous men of the whole Dakotah Nation, on account of his hostilities toward the whites and the idea that he was a great Chief and leader of war parties …as well as being the principal agitator in the Ghost Dance craze which ended in his death on Grand river, S.D.

INDEX

BIRTH, FAMILY & YOUTH

WARRIOR, BIG HORN NOTES, BAD INFLUENCE, DEFIANCE

DEATH, BURIAL

INTERVIEW WITH MR. HOPKINS (REE) WHO TALKS ABOUT SB’S SON

CHARLES MCLAUGHLIN TALKS ABOUT SB’S WIVES

MRS. WELCH DINES WITH SITTING BULL

SITTING BULL AND THE BOTTLE OF HORSE RADISH:

FORT YATES TREATY

MATO SKA TALKS ABOUT SB

SITTING BEAR TALKS ABOUT THE FIGHT AT FORT CLARK

THOMAS FROSTED, MAY 3, 1929 TALKS ABOUT GREY EAGLE

WHITE COW WALKING, AUG. 31, 1929, MANDAN, N.D. TALKS ABOUT CANADA

LONG BULL, MAY 7, 1926 (age 58 yrs) CALLED ON ME TODAY

WELCH VISITS ONE BULL AND WHITE BULL, THE ONLY LIVING NEPHEWS OF SITTING BULL, SEPTEMBER 8, 1936

FRANK ZAHN BIOGRAPHICAL ARTICLE, MAY 16, 1929

COMMENTS IN SUPPORT OF SITTING BULL BY DR. EASTMAN AND GENERAL SCOTT

SITTING BULL’S SHIELD AND NAME PICTOGRAPH

THREE LETTERS FOUND IN SITTING BULL’S CABIN

PHOTOS OF SITTING BULL

THREE GREAT INDIAN CHIEFS

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BIRTH, FAMILY & YOUTH

The best advice we get is from the Dakotah, themselves, who tell me that he was born somewhere on the Grand River in 1834 (the year after the “Stars Changed Placed Winter”).  He was of the Hunkpapa Tetons.  His father’s name was Jumping Bull, often called Four Horns, and was a sub-chief or leader of a band.  Sitting Bull’s baby name was Jumping Badger.  When he was fourteen years of age his father gave a feast and gave him his own name or Four Horns and he did not take the name of Sitting Bull until 1857, when he commenced to “make medicine” and attract attention to himself, thereby.

YOUTH (1915 notes):

He started at ten years of age, to hunt buffalo and become somewhat of a famous hunter, showing great ability and giving his kill to the women and old men.  This made him a favorite with that class.  He counted coup the first time when he was a youngster of fourteen, when on a war party against the Crows with his father.  Upon return of the party, his father gave him a new name, Four Horns, on account of his coup.  This action placed him in the warrior class.

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WARRIOR, BIG HORN NOTES, BAD INFLUENCE, DEFIANCE

WARRIOR (1915 notes):

After 1857 he rapidly acquired much influence among the people of his band and took an active part in the war on the plains in the 60’s and in 1856 was a member of the war party which made a raid upon Fort Buford, N.D.  Always an agitator, he rapidly gathered together a band of young hostiles from many different tribes of the Dakota Tetons and even from the Santee, and waged active war upon frontier posts and settlements as well as raiding the Crows and other tribes which ranged to the west of the Black Hills County.

LITTLE BIG HORN (1915 notes):

His refusal to remain upon a reservation was the common decision of the Tetons and caused General Sheridan to class him with the hostiles and begin, against the tribes, the campaign which ended in surprise and death of General Custer in June 1876. During the battle he was in the hills making medicine and did not command any Indian force whatever, and it is to be doubted if he fired a single shot.  These fighting men were commanded by Gall, Grass, Crazy Horse and other real chiefs.  Sitting Bull was simply a medicine man among them, much feared on account of his supposed spirit communications and tricks of the subtle student of human nature.

After this fight Sitting Bull became leader of the Indians who scattered to Canada, although Gall was also among them.  Immediately after the fight on the Big Horn, Sitting Bull fled westward with a part of the force and was attacked by General Miles who pursued him until he crossed into Canada.  In 1881 he surrendered to the Canadian authorities and was turned over to the U.S.A. at Fort Buford.  The Indians were brought down the river on steamboats to Bismarck and Fort Yates and placed upon the reservations.  Sitting Bull was confined in various places until liberated at Fort Randal on the Missouri River in 1883.

BAD INFLUENCE (1915 notes):

But, at heart, he was still hostile and unreconciled and it was partly owing to his bad influence that the Indians refused to sell their lands in 1888.  It was at his camp that Kick the Bear held the first Ghost Dance.

DEFIANCE (1915 notes):

In the fall of 1890 he stampeded from a treaty which was being signed by Chief Grass on behalf of the tribes, and shouting defiance, he rode out on the flat at Fort Yates and camped with his hostiles.  The next morning they were gone and camped on the Grand River where they gave themselves up to exciting dances and war-like procedure.  This quickly was followed by the Ghost Dance.

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DEATH, BURIAL

DEATH (1915 notes):

The demand for his arrest was followed by his death on the Grand River on December 15th, 1890.  In this fight, Lieut. Bull Head, Sergt. Shave Head, Private Broken Arm, Hawk Man, Warrior Fears Him, Stone Man, of the Indian Police were killed.  Crow Foot, Sitting Bull’s son and many hostiles were also killed at the log house from which Sitting Bull had been taken in the middle of the night by the Police.  Shortly followed the fight on Wounded Knee at which time the hostiles under Big Foot were completely crushed and terribly punished.

BURIAL (1915 notes):

He is buried at Fort Yates.  He was denied the right of interment in the Catholic burying ground by Father Bernard.  His grave is a short distance away with a plain headboard of wood, upon which is painted in black paint, almost torn away by the elements: “Sitting Bull, Indian.”  He was buried in the old Fort burying ground, but the graves have long since been opened and the bodies of the soldiers removed.  The naked holes are still there in long rows (1915).  It is said by men who were present, that he was put into a rough box and quick lime was put in also, so we doubt if anyone has his skull.  Many different ones make this claim.

INFLUENCE (1915 notes):

He was a great organizer as well as a feared medicine man and it is said of him that he went into trances and spoke with the voices of men long dead.  McLaughlin, who knew him well and was agent at the time of his death and who buried him, says of him: “His accuracy of judgment, knowledge of men, a student-like disposition to observe natural phenomena, and a deep insight into the affairs among Indians and such white people as he came into contact with, made his stock in trade and he made good medicine.  He stood well among his people and yet, was noted for his kindness to his own people and was a generous and steadfast adherent to Indian ideals.

He had two wives at the time of his death.  One’s name was Pretty Plume.  He had nine children.  One daughter was called Standing Holy.

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INTERVIEW WITH MR. HOPKINS (REE) WHO TALKS ABOUT SB’S SON

SEPT. 2, 1915 INTERVIEW WITH MR. HOPKINS, AN ELDER IN THE CONGREGATIONALIST SOCIETY:

He is a Ree and lives at Fort Berthold, six miles from post.  He is 50 years of age, has lived in this country all his life and knew Sitting Bull well.  He told me this story on Sept. 2, 1915:

SITTING BULL’S GRANDSON

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“He (Sitting Bull) lived a long time with the Rees.  He had a Ree wife there.  He had some children.  One child is there now alive.  He lived among the Rees until he was about twenty-five or thirty years old.  Then he went to live among his own people, the Dakotah people.  This place where he lived was up in the Berthold country and along the Missouri River.”

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CHARLES MCLAUGHLIN TALKS ABOUT SB’S WIVES

CHARLES McLAUGHLIN – AUGUST 16TH 1926:

“Sitting Bull had two wives, plural.  They were sisters and Grey Eagle was their brother.  This man was a member of the force which attempted to arrest him, and which attempt resulted in his death.  One of these women had been married before and had a son.  This son’s name was Eashni (Does Not Hear/Dummy).  He was a mute and deaf as well.  Of course, this son was not a blood relative of Sitting Bull, and I do not know who his father was.  One of the women had a son by Sitting Bull, and he was the young fellow named Si Kange (Crow Foot).  He was killed at the same time as his father was, in the fight at the Grand River camp of ghost dancers.  Louis Sitting Bull was a nephew of Sitting Bull.  His name was Wa Mahi (Under the Snow).  Crow Foot was the only known blood son of Sitting Bull.  I think Stone Man was the police who killed Crow Foot.

WELCH FOOTNOTE to above interview:

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CONVERSATION WITH “ENEMY,” DECEMBER 2ND, 1923, ELBOWOODS, N.D.:

Enemy is an Arikara (Ree), talks English; witnesses Joe Packineau, Sitting Crow, Sam Newman.

My name is Enemy.  I am Arikara.  I am 59 years old.  My father, his name was Sitting Wolf.  He was half Ree.  His mother was Ree.  His father was Sioux.  My father had a half brother.  This half brother had the same father as my father.  The mother was a different woman.  The name of this half brother of my father it was Sitting Bull.  The Ree people they call him Sitting Badger.  One time the Sioux attacked the village.  One man sat down in the center of the village.  He called out to the people to give back the women and children they had captured.  The Rees made him a lot of presents then.  He said that he had a brother in this Ree village and that he belonged to the same soldier’s society.  So he stopped the fight.  Sitting Bull lived for a long time with the Rees.  (The story was corroborated by the witnesses).

NAMES OF TWO WIVES and FAMILY MEMBERS OF SITTING BULL, JUNE 20, 1932 NOTE:

It is said that one was named The Women Looked at by the Nation, and the other She Who had Four Robes. Two uncles were named Four Horns, and Hunts the Lodge.

Sitting Bull’s first name was Jumping Badger.

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MRS. WELCH DINES WITH SITTING BULL

MRS. WELCH DINES WITH SITTING BULL:

At one time my wife, Adelaide,  Mrs. Welch, was a guest of General Crook at Fort Yates (probably in the mid 1880’s).  Sitting Bull and several other influential Sioux sat at the table for dinner.  Sitting Bull was clothed in the customary breech cloth and leggins.  He very gravely unfolded his napkin, spread it out neatly upon the chair, and sat down upon it.  (Note: Mrs. Welch was at least 10 years older than Col. Welch, probably born mid 1860’s)

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SITTING BULL AND THE BOTTLE OF HORSE RADISH:

SITTING BULL AND THE BOTTLE OF HORSE RADISH:

It is told of him that while a guest at some officer’s dinner party (probably in the mid 1880’s) that he saw a bottle of fresh horse radish.  He helped himself liberally with the assistance of the blade of his knife, and put the entire ‘load’ into his mouth.  He then passed the bottle around to the other Indians present who each took a knife blade full and ate it.  Great tears rolled down their cheeks, but not a word was said by any of them until the last Indian had taken a mouthful of the stinking root.  Then they all broke out in laughing and talking and joking one another.

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FORT YATES TREATY

FORT YATES TREATY, COL. STEEN TALKS, 1919:

“He, Grass, was the first man to sign the Crook Treaty and when he did so there was a regular rush among the other head men to do the same.  When he signed, Sitting Bull came in and tried hard to stir up trouble at that time…but old White Bull  (b. about 1852) horsewhipped him as he sat on his horse and he shut up for a while.

ONE BULL AND WHITE BULL, nephews of Sitting Bull

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WELCH  NOTES re Fort Yates Treaty: Chief Grass (b. 1837, d. 1918) was the principal talker and the first signer with Governor Foster of Ohio and General Crook representing the government.  Sitting Bull started out on his last rampage at that time.  Mrs. Welch heard his speech then.

CHIEF GRASS TALKS, late 1910’s:

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The Sioux have produced some very great men.  Sitting Bull was a man of much personality and force.

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MATO SKA TALKS ABOUT SB

THOMAS FROSTED (b. 1856, d. 1932) (MATO SKA), MAY 3RD, 1929:

Shown a picture of Sitting Bull with a long head dress down the back, and horns, he said: “That is the insignia of the “Sunka Toksa Koda” ( Fox Society).  This society is no more.  No one but a brave man could belong.  One who had coups.  They never run away from an enemy after they belonged to it.  The other one he wears is the sign of the Strong Hearts Society (Cante Tiza).  It has the two horns and then a lot of white weasel fur down the back.  It is a famous organization which is now dead.”

“One time when he was with a war party against some northern Indians, he took captive a small boy and brought him back with him.  He was called Little Assiniboine (Hohe).  He became a bad man and was killed with Sitting Bull when he fought the policemen.  Sometimes this man is called the brother and sometimes the nephew of Sitting Bull, but he was taken prisoner that time.”

“When he was was young, Sitting Bull bore the name of Jumping Badger, but that was changed after that.”

“Things which look like scalps tied under a horse’s bit is not a human scalp, but a piece of horses neck with the mane attached.  No one but a man who has saved a friend in battle, after he has been unhorsed, can wear that.  It is not a mark of any society.  Some of those coups which Sitting Bull drew, were not made by himself, but were presents to him by some friend, who thus gave him the right to mark them and talk about them.”

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SITTING BEAR TALKS ABOUT THE FIGHT AT FORT CLARK

SITTING BEAR TALKS ABOUT THE FIGHT AT FORT CLARK, NOV. 21, 1921:

“My father, Star, lived at Fort Clark Village one time.  There was a trader there then.  The Sioux were camped in the hills close by and they were trading furs for other things.  They were all around in the village.  The people were afraid of them, too.  Two Sioux walked all around.  They had their buffalo robes up to their eyes.  Their guns were underneath.  They looked all over.  Then the trader came out of the store house.  They shot him and ran away.

FORT BERTHOLD, FEDERATED VILLAGE, 1872

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Then the fight started among the Sioux and the Fort Clark people.  Many men on both sides were killed.  the Sioux stole a lot of our women.  They could not get away.  Our fighting men were pushed to the north side of the town.  Then a man rode around among the Sioux.  He talked to them loud.  He was Sitting Bull.  He said, “My brother is in this village.  Where is he?”  He made them stop shooting then.  He sat down in the middle of this village.  The villagers made him a lot of presents then.  He gave them back all their women.  Everybody was happy then.  The Sioux went to their camps and broke tipis right then and went away.  The Sioux would come often and camp close to us when we had corn and we would have to feed them corn or fight them.  Everybody knows that Tom Enemy at the Agency at Elbowoods is Sitting Bull’s uncle.  I don’t know how that happened.  My father was born at Fort Clark village and lived there until he was 20.  Then the people went up to live with the people at Fort Berthold village.  They built two other villages across the river from there, but the Sioux bothered us so much that they went across.  I was born at the Fort Berthold village and lived in a round house.”

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THOMAS FROSTED, MAY 3, 1929 TALKS ABOUT GREY EAGLE

THOMAS FROSTED, MAY 3, 1929 TALKS ABOUT GREY EAGLE:

“Grey Eagle requested him (Sitting Bull) to drop the ceremonies of the Ghost Dance, about 18 months before the fight.  But he would not, and so there was bad blood between the brother-in-laws about that thing.  This is why Grey Eagle was with the policemen at the fight.

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WHITE COW WALKING, AUG. 31, 1929, MANDAN, N.D. TALKS ABOUT CANADA

WHITE COW WALKING, AUG. 31, 1929, MANDAN, N.D. TALKS ABOUT CANADA:

Francis Red Tomahawk and wife were in my office to make a call and a ‘talk.’  Old White Cow Walking came in to see me, and while there, Tomahawk asked me if the old man had ever told me the story of his being a prisoner of the Soldier Society.  Tomahawk translates:

WHITE COW WALKING

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“While they went with Sitting Bull’s outfit into Canada after the Montana fight, they entered into an agreement with the British that they would neither steal or molest the whites or the countryside.

But this old man, and another young fellow by the name of White Bird, did steal something from the whites and that thing was reported to Sitting Bull, who ordered both the men to be given over to the Soldiers organization which was in charge of the Indians and their camp.

Those men decided that they had done very wrong and that they might all be sent below the line into the U.S. for that.  They took both of them and tied ropes securely to their thumbs and hung them up, with their faces toward the sun.  They hung all day, without food or drink.  It was terrible punishment for them and a great example for the other Indians.  At sundown they were cut down.

The guards posted over them all day were Black Thunder (who is the father of Mrs. Red Tomahawk) and Circling Hawk.

The Society had the right to inflict such punishment as they deemed proper for any crimes committee while they were on duty.”

The old man did not remember the name of the society.  “Brave Hearts,” says One Bull.

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LONG BULL, MAY 7, 1926 (age 58 yrs) CALLED ON ME TODAY:

 

LONG BULL, MAY 7, 1926 (age 58 yrs) CALLED ON ME TODAY:

He said that his father was named Long Bull and had served with General Miles, whom they call Bear’s Coat.  Black Fox served with Miles at the same time as Long Bull, and they were the two men who led the hostiles under Sitting Bull, into the camp of General Miles when they decided to return from Canada and give themselves up after the Custer affair.

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WELCH VISITS ONE BULL AND WHITE BULL, THE ONLY LIVING NEPHEWS OF SITTING BULL, SEPTEMBER 8, 1936

WELCH VISITS ONE BULL AND WHITE BULL, THE ONLY LIVING NEPHEWS OF SITTING BULL, SEPTEMBER 8, 1936:

Today I took G.A.Thompson and Frank Everts of Bismarck, and went to Little Eagle to visit the only nephew of Sitting Bull, alive.  We took with us break, a flank of meat and a kidney with its sweet fat, coffee, flour, tobacco, pears and peaches, as presents.  We drove via Flasher and McLaughlin, S.D., and arriving at Little Eagle, we found where they were living on the right bank of the Grand River, and drove down there through the great trees and lowlands.  The river did not have a drop of water in it where we crossed it, and soon we came to the little log house of Spotted Horse, whose educated wife is the daughter of One Bull.

ONE BULL

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I heard One Bull shouting that Charging Bear (me) was coming – and we walked up to the entrance of their leaf-covered summer shelter, where we shook hands with both of the old men, his wife, Spotted Bear’s wife and another woman by the name of Growler, some relation of Sitting Bull.  We smoked and then started in to talk.  The old fellows were so happy to see us, and the presents were so happily received.  They started to eat the fruit at once.  Soon I smelled the odor of boiling meat as they started the soup kettle. We had a wonderful visit and talk.

I learned that One Bull was freighting and that White Bull was at Eagle Butte (southward) at the time the Indian Police arrested Sitting Bull, ten miles to the west on the Grand.  However, One Bull’s wife was in S.B.s camp that morning and fled with Big Foot after the fight, finally being corralled at Wounded Knee, a few days later.

One Bull is 84, White Bull is 87 years of age, both apparently being in good health at present.  They had quite a dispute as to how many daughters Sitting Bull had, but finally decided that there were three…one dying young, and the others later on.  His son, Crow Foot, and his adopted son, an Assiniboine (Hohe), called Little Assiniboine, were both killed at the fight when S.B. was killed.  S.B. had captured this Hohe and taken him as his own son.

I gave a blanket to One Bull and a suit of clothes to White Bull.

They brought out all the things they had used during their recent Sun Dance.  I found out that they had two wreaths of wild sage to wear on their heads; One Bull wore four red sticks in his hair, a five inch five-pointed star and a half moon on his breast, and carried an eagle bone whistle with a six inch fluffy feather tied to it.  They prayed for rain to come, and the stars and moon and sun were implored to be mediums between God and themselves.  The red sticks (six inches long and as large as a lead pencil) were used to scratch themselves with during the day, as no one in the ceremony should ever touch their half-naked bodies during the day, but hold their arms close to their sides and glare at the sun all day without food or drink. They told me that they did rest a little during the middle of the day, though.  They also dance barefooted, as the earth is the mother of men and radiations from her should come through direct to the bare skin.

One Bull told me that he had practically been raised from a boy by Sitting Bull, and that he was always with him wherever he went.  White Bull was not with him so much as he was connected with the Minneconjous and stayed with his mother most of the time.  (Note: their stories of the Little Big Horn will be told in a separate volume of this collection).

At last we shook hands and departed after a visit of a couple of hours – a delightful ceremonial visit with two men who had been savages during most of their lives and both active participants in the Custer fight, and the splendid old woman of One Bull, who placed her cheek to mine and wailed with pleasure and happiness.

What a transition in their lives – old buffalo hunters, one born in 1849, the other in 1852, hunters of human enemies, bloodthirsty and revengeful in their youth; then came the transition period when they were about 40 years of age; with the wild white soldiers and wilder hunters; then modern times with near starvation and confusion to them.

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FRANK ZAHN BIOGRAPHICAL ARTICLE, MAY 16, 1929

FRANK ZAHN BIOGRAPHICAL ARTICLE, MAY 16, 1929

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COMMENTS IN SUPPORT OF SITTING BULL BY DR. EASTMAN AND GENERAL SCOTT

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SITTING BULL’S SHIELD AND NAME PICTOGRAPH

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THREE LETTERS FOUND IN SITTING BULL’S CABIN

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PHOTOS OF SITTING BULL

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PENNY POSTCARD

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Three Great Indian Chiefs

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