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Sitting Bull

also known as Sitting Bull the Good
or Sitting Bull of the South




He was friendly to the whites and interceded with aforementioned club when Red Cloud's men chopped down the flag pole at the Red Cloud Agency in 1874; a small detachment of soldiers were sent to calm things down but were surrounded until Sitting Bull and others intervened. A pictograph to accompany Harry Anderson's article on him in the Nebraska Indian Wars Reader shows him fighting the Pawnee while wearing a horned war bonnet decorated with the head of some sort of bird of prey. He's armed to the teeth with revolver in holster, knife club, rifle and US flag.

While a member of the 1875 delegation, he was given an engraved rifle by the president in recognition of his work at the agency. Acording to Anderson, after Little Bighorn, he left the agency to go to the 'hostile' Crazy Horse village to retrieve the rifle from a friend who had borrowed it; there, he agreed to accompany a small delegation who were going to meet Miles to discuus the possibilities of surrender terms; before this could happen, Crow scouts rushed out and killed them. —Grahame Wood

The photograph above is of the 1875 delegation to Washington, D.C., taken by Frank F. Currier on May 13, 1875 in Omaha, Nebraska. The delegation was on its way to capital to meet the President to discuss the Black Hills. There are several other images in this series, and the delegation was also photographed in D.C. a short time later.

The people in this image include, standing in back, left to right: 1.) Julius Meyer, proprietor of a store called the Indian Wigwam, which dealt in both Indian and Japanese artifacts; 2.) Red Cloud.
Seated in front, left to right: Sitting Bull the Oglala, 2. Swift Bear and 3.) Spotted Tail. The Oglala Sitting Bull was killed by Crow scouts at Miles' Tongue River cantonment in early 1877 while coming in with a delegation to discuss peace terms.

Historian Harry Anderson, in his article published many years ago about the Oglala Sitting Bull's war club, identified Packs the Drum from the Alexander Gardner photographs at the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty council as the same individual. However, it is clear by comparing that they are not. As often happens when working with various Lakota personages, we get confused because of shared names.

The Oglala Sitting Bull appears in two images from the 1875 delegation in Omaha (including the one above) and he also appears in two of the 1875 Washington D.C. delegation images. I am not aware of any individual portraits of delegates from the 1875 visit.

Incidentally, according to William Garnett, the agency interpreter at the Red Cloud Agency, it was not Red Cloud's band that chopped up the flagpole (though if I recall correctly, he refused to intercede). Garnett noted that the trouble came from the Wajaje band (Red Leaf's band). While they had lived with the Oglala for a number of years, presumably to avoid Spotted Tail's leadership style, the Wajaje were in fact Brule.
— Ephriam Dickson


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