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Sitting Bull

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Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull (Sioux: Tatanka Iyotake or Tatanka Iyotanka orTa-Tanka I-Yotank, born Hunkesni, Slow), (c. 1831December 15, 1890) was a Native American shaman and leader of the Hunkpapa Sioux (see Lakota), who led 3,500 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors against the US 7th Cavalry under George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876. Though he did not participate personally in the battle, the chiefs were spurred on by a dream that Sitting Bull had in which a group of American soldiers tumbled into his encampment.

Blamed for the ensuing massacre, Sitting Bull led his tribe into Canada, where they lived until 1881, when on July 20 he led the last of his fugitive people in surrender to United States troops at Fort Buford in Montana. The US government, however, had granted him amnesty.

In later life, Sitting Bull toured with Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, where he was a popular attraction. Often asked to address the audience, he frequently cursed them in his native Lakota language to the wild applause of his listeners.

Toward the end of his life, Sitting Bull was drawn to the mystical Ghost Dance as a way of repelling the white invaders from his people's land. Although he himself was not a follower, this was perceived as a threat by the American government, and a group of Indian police was sent to arrest him. In the ensuing scuffle, Sitting Bull and his son Crow Foot were killed.

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