The Wild West, 1885: Sitting Bull


Sitting Bull with Wild Bill Cody

Sitting Bull is the symbol of native resistance. He continually defends his culture from white attack. He is the leader who subjected the U.S. Army to its worst defeat in the “Indian Wars.”

He joins the Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West Show. Although he is greeted by boos and catcalls, by the end of the show he has won them over, and they pay him for autographed pictures. But Sitting Bull is poor, he saves nothing of what he earns. He is continually pressing coins into the hands of the ragged and hungry white kids who seem to be at every stop on the circuit.

As a Sioux chief he is responsible for the welfare of his people, which means giving away what he has so that no one will go hungry. He cannot understand how white people can neglect their poor.

He tells Annie Oakley: The white man knows how to make everything, but he does not know how to distribute it.

-Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, 338


See additional sources at:

Exploring The West   

Sitting Bull

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