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Sitting Bull Surrender Census

[The Sitting Bull Surrender Ledger] was created in Aug.-Sept. 1881 just as the recently returned "hostiles" from Canada were being turned over by the military to the Indian Office officials at Standing Rock. This census is absolutely amazing. Not only does it list every person by name (both English and Lakota), their age and relationships within the family, the census taker also asked questions such as "how long have you been at the agency" and "how many deer and buffalo have you killed" during the past year. A total of 1081 families, or 4293 people. Great stuff! The only thing I wish they had done better was to have listed everyone by the band they belonged to; in this census many bands are lumped together. Fortunately, Agent McLaughlin did a much better job three months later in Dec. 1881 in his annual annuity list to list everyone under a specific chief. During this period, annuity goods were given to the headman who then distributed to his followers, one way in which their leadership position was strengthened.

In the Sitting Bull Census, the agency bands are listed seperate from those who had just arrived from Canada with Sitting Bull. I would suspect that most, if not all, of those surrendering with Sitting Bull were at the LBH. In this census, the northern bands are listed as:

Hunkpapa:
Sitting Bull and Four Horns, 41 families, 195 people
Crow King, 63 families, 285 people
Gall, 52 families, 229 people
Rain in the Face, 39 families, 179 people

Blackfeet:
Crawler, 23 families, 179 people

Minneconjou/Sans Arc:
Fool Heart, 26 families, 112 people
Circle Bear, 85 families, 351 people
Hump, 142 families, 714 people

Oglala:
Big Road, 13 families, 47 people
Low Dog, 82 families, 386 people

Brule:
Bull Dog, 41 families, 206 people

This includes everyone who were transferred to Standing Rock from either Fort Buford or Fort Keogh -- except for one band, that of Spotted Eagle (36 families/139 people) who was transferred to the Cheyenne River Agency just before the census was taken. I found an issue record from Cheyenne River from the time of the transfer, so have now been able to assign names of the heads of families for this band, though not their wives and children. (We do not get that for Cheyenne River until 1886.)

Take a look at your copy of the July 1885 annuity list; notice that the Hunkpapa are divided into bands, under which each family is listed. The first section are all the agency bands, starting with Thunder Hawk, Broken Bear Rib, through Running Antelope. Then, the bands starting with High Bear forward through Bear Looking Back are all "northern" bands. Most of those were transferred to Standing Rock in 1881 with Sitting Bull. A few such as No Neck's band were those who left Canada later -- I think No Neck came in 1884. There were some transfers between bands during these years, but I would suspect that most of the people listed in these northern bands were at the LBH.

— Ephriam Dickson

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