The Life & Times of Sitting Bull — Free Give-Away


And welcome to another Tuesday post, and another free give-away.  Today I’ll be giving away a free Mass Market copy of RED HAWK’S WOMAN.  Please do have a look at the Give Away Guidelines on the front page of our post.  The rules are simple, but one rule I should stress is that unlike some other sites, in order to claim your prize, you have to come back to the site either tomorrow or in a few days to see if you are the winner.  We don’t normally contact you.  Okay?  So please check back late tomorrow evening or the next day.

That said, my next book (which I’m in the process of writing) is about a scout in the Lakota tribe.  The Lakota were the first tribe of people that I wrote about, and I’m particularly fond of these people.  And so since my nose is in history and language books of these people at present, I thought I’d post about one of the most famous of all the Lakota Indians, Sitting Bull.

When I grew up, Sitting Bull was known by every child in school.  And although most of us didn’t know much about him, he was often spoken of as being a great warrior.

SittingBull[1]Sitting Bull wasn’t technically a warrior.  Although he had skills as a hunter and a warrior, he was a holy man of the tribe — a medicine man.  He was born around 1830 or 1831 on the Grand River in South Dakota.  He was a Hunkpapa Sioux (or Lakota).  The Sioux (Lakota) tribe has different bands that make up the tribe.  A band is typically several different families, many of whom are related.

As a child, he had a nickname of “Slow.”  His father, Returns Again was an esteemed warrior and so Sitting Bull seemed destined to be the same, except that as a child he showed little skills as a warrior, thus his name, “Slow.”

Interestingly, he received the name Sitting Bull (I have read several different accounts on how he received his name — but this is an unusual one) because of a fight that he had with another young Indian boy who was from a rival tribe, I believe.  In the fight, he killed the other Indian boy (so the story goes), but was, himself, injured and he was called from then on Lame Bull or Sitting Bull because of the injury he received, which made him permanently lame.

But he rose above that and became fearless in everything that he didSitting Bull_Sioux Indian_Buffalo_Bill_[1] — he was also an excellent rider, an extremely good shot and could endure much fatigue without showing it..  He shot his first buffalo calf when he was 10 and another story goes that because his father was considered rich by Indian standards, the meat from his hunting was often given to the poor.  Because Sitting Bull’s tribe hunted to the far north of the country, they had little dealings with the in-coming culture.  It wasn’t until 1862, when the Santee Sioux from Minnesota were pushed West, that Sitting Bull’s tribe learned about what life might hold on one of the reservations.

The 1860’s started in a bad way, and more ill-feelings between the Lakota Sioux and the United States government ensued.  In 1865, Sitting  Bull led a party and attacked Fort Rice in North Dakota. He so distinguished himself that within 3 years, he had become a chief of the Lakota people.  It was also in 1868 that the Lakota made peace with the United States government in treaty.  But that treaty was quickly broken by the United States government in the 1870’s when gold was discovered in the Black Hills.  And thus began the famous Sioux Indian wars of the 1870’s, culminating in the complete destruction of the 7th Cavalry under George Armstrong Custer.

Sitting Bull-Sioux Indian Chief-Custer[1]Sitting Bull did not participate in that fight, but having survived the fight, he took his people north into Canada, where they lived for a period of four years.  However, his people began to starve due to harsh conditions, and they demanded to go back to their own country.  Sitting Bull counseled them to remain where they were and tried to assure them that they could survive in Canada, but most  were determined to return, and Sitting Bull led them back to the United States in 1881.  (As a note, there were several different families from Sitting Bull’s band that remained in Canada, and their ancestors still live there today.)

He was held prisoner until 1883, and in 1885, he joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show after he had become friends with Annie Oakley.  Although the pay was good, Sitting Bull could little understand the poverty he came to witness while on the road.  He was also routinely booed by the show’s audience, and Sitting Bull is quoted as saying, “[I] would rather die an Indian than live a white man,.”  He quit after only one season.

In the end, Sitting Bull came back to the place where he had been born.  There, he came to support the famous Ghost Dance.  His support of this dance (which determined that the ancestors of the Indians would come back to claim their land), frightened government officials.  It was this, really, that spelled the end of his days.  He was killed by Indian police, in a staged incident where the police insisted he had been resisting arrest.  It was a tragic end, only because this man gave so much of himself for his people.

But there is something to be learned from the life of this very famous man.  It has been said, and I forget by who, that those who do not know history (real history, not that which is generally taught in school) are destined to repeat it.  And so to this end, I would like to cut and paste a piece written by an unknown Lakota upon the anniversary of the death of Sitting Bull.

T?at?á?ka Íyotake

(Tatanka Iyotaka)
By: ~Anonymous Lakota

Saturday, December 15th, 2002 was the 112th Memorial anniversary of the assassination of Tatanka Iyotaka, more commonly known as Sitting Bull. This inspirational leader was murdered deep within Lakota Nation territory, a vast area encompassing much of the central and northern Great Plains. Tatanka Iyotaka in his day was one of the most influential leaders on the prairie. Today, he is the most recognizable Indian in the world.


Tatanka Iyotaka was not impressed by white society and their version of civilization. He was shocked and saddened to see the number of homeless people living on the streets of American cities. He gave money to hungry white people many times when he was in the large cities.


He counseled his people to be wary of what they accept from white culture. He saw some things which might benefit his people; but cautioned Indian people to accept only those things that were useful to us, and to leave everything else alone. Tatanka Iyotaka was a man of clear vision and pure motivation.

Sitting Bull autograph dated on card’s  reverse June 12th 1889.




As is often the case with extraordinary people, Tatanka Iyotaka was murdered by his own people. The colonial force set the weak of his own race against him. A tactic they continue to use. Indian police today carry on the tradition started by the assassins of Tatanka Iyotaka and Tasunke Witko. Indian police harassing, arresting, even killing other Indian people keeps the colony in control. Seeing that their paychecks, just like those of the elected tribal/band councilors, come from the colonial government points to that quite clearly.




The unrelenting love for his land and his people caused the enemies of the Lakota to fear Tatanka Iyotaka. The Hunkpapa Oyate and the Titonwan Lakota had many powerful leaders, but Tatanka Iyotaka will forever remain the icon of traditional, full-blood strength and dignity
Taken from the website:
What is the moral of this story you might ask?  What is to be learned from it?  I think it would go something like this:  beware the person, people or agency who would tell you bad things about those to whom you are close — and also those who are different from you.  Before you believe what is told to you about another, question that person yourself.  Live in his shoes for a few days before deciding you’re angry.  Unfortunately, there are those who specialize in evil, and there are those who profit from brother fighting brother.  Such people are the real crazy ones — those who would sell their soul for worldly profit.   So that’s what I would take away from this.
Well, that’s all for today.  RED HAWK’S WOMAN is on sale here: — there also another cover for the Mass Market version of RED HAWK’S
Please come on in and share your thoughts with me about this great man.
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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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32 thoughts on “The Life & Times of Sitting Bull — Free Give-Away”

  1. I always learn something when I read your posts. I did not know everything in your post. Sitting Bull should be considered great by all standards.

  2. I can’t wait to start doing studies on the great west and learn about the Indians. I love how you tell use so much about Sitting Bull. Thank you so much for a chance to win such a great book. It is great that there are books about other characters in the west other than cowboys and women in distress.

  3. A well respected book to read on Sitting Bull is “The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull” by Robert M. Utley for anyone interested.

    I myself have studied more about the Oglala Sioux (“They Scatter Their Own”), particularly Crazy Horse (T?ašú?ke Witkó), Red Cloud (Ma?píya Lúta), and Black Elk (He?áka Sápa). I usually suggest the book “Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux” by Black Elk and John Neihardt, which is considered a classic.

    I study Lakota language some too, Kay, –mostly nouns. 😀 “Lakota” means “friend,” while the name “Sioux” –meaning “snakes” or “serpents”– was given to them early on by the English from some French words and possibly also Ojibway. So, the people I know from the Oglala tribe much prefer “Lakota” which is what they use themselves. I’ve heard them call themselves “Indians,” but never Sioux unless “Lakota” is in front of it and rarely at that.

    • Hi Eliza!

      Interestingly, I have read all those books — I also like the books by Charles Eastman, too. Thanks for all the info that you’ve put into your post. : )

  4. Anything I can find on this subject, I read. Absolutely fascinating. Thank you for sharing.???

    • Hi Melissa!

      Yes, the above post mentioned several books that are excellent and I recommend them, and also the books by Charles Eastman. : )

  5. You are right, as is common with extraordinary people, they are turned upon. Wonderfully informative article.

  6. Hi Susan!

    Yes, interestingly that he was turned upon by his own people. And I do believe there is a lesson to be learned from this. From all real history, actually! Thanks so much for your post.

    • Hi Estella!

      Thank you so very much! By the way, have you read LAKOTA PRINCESS? The heroine’s name is Estela — only 1` “l” — but very much like your name. : )

  7. I always enjoy your posts. There is so much we could have learned from them. I never understood when taught in school how people always thought “we” were the good guys. From early on I empathized with the underdog and still do. What is going on in our world today is just insane and I’m afraid most aren’t going to wise up until it’s too late.

    • Gosh, Catslady, I so totally agree. As some wise person once said, the scene today is as it is because someone wants it that way. I’m afraid that we are run today by banksters and banks, who have bottom line only in mind. But, like you, I suspect there is more to it than mere bottom line. My thoughts…

  8. Unfortunately, history in our country has often presented one dimensional pictures of native figures. Thank you for your efforts to expand those pictures.

  9. Karen, another stunner as usual with your blend of history, true facts, legends and the native way of life which is a compelling read at all times. I knew some of Sitting Bull but had not realized all of it and of course being murdered by his own people for hire aka the Indian Police. I can only hope Karma took care of them.
    Keep up the good work Karen, can’t wait to see what new books are coming out and am sure glad you keep giving us neat stories, tales, tidbits and unique perspectives on the way of life for the indians back then even a nod to the present as well.
    Thanks, Elaine

    • Wow! Thank you so much. Sitting Bull was quite a man, and I’ve always found it interesting that he joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show because of Annie Oakley. Little Sure Shot he called her. : )

  10. Many of us tend to think that Native Americans of old were not able to achieve greatness. I think we have been proven wrong by such stories as Sitting Bull’s.

  11. Wow! That was so fascinating. I love Native American history, especially being married to a CDIB (Certified Degree of Indian Blood) Chowtaw. Once they came across the Trail of Tears, they were to sign the list, which officially made them indians. Many wouldn’t because back then, being acknowledged as Indian was lower than being a Negro. Fortunately, my husband’s family did sign, and they are provided free health care, help with himes, schooling, etc. 2 of our adopted kids are Arapahoe Cheyenne but their birth certificates read WHITE, because of what I explained above.

    • Hi Melody!

      Forgive me if we’ve talked about this before, but my American Indian heritage is also Choctaw. Apparently for what I can tell (there are not stories about this — but it seems like this must be what happened) — my grandfathers/grandmothers came up the Mississippi on the Trail of Tears and landed in Illinois — so I find this all very interesting. I didn’t even know of my heritage until my father did a family tree. : )

  12. There must have been something so striking or positive about Annie Oakley to entice Sitting Bull to have come much less join with the Wild Bill Hickock Show even for 1 season. To do that it may have been to see what the world was like outside a reservation for just people in America then. So saying he would give help to those hungry white people when he could so he was a generously giving man, no matter what people he was from or who they were. He still gave a helping hand, he must have been an enigma in his time and to his people and nay be that is why they killed him. We will never know but I can say he was a wise man of vision but maybe a bit out of his time is all. I hope they learned from him. He after all was still just a man but he is remembered for a lot of things but maybe not in favor to his people yet others even now know of his sayings. Can a man be a scapegoat to his race and murdered for his beliefs, yes, just as blacks were in later years. I am now thinking of all the major assassinations from Lincoln, Sitting Bull, John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King. I can see parallels to get rid of the ones who can see change ahead and do what they can only to be killed for it. Bobby Kennedy was another caught in the crossfire by association. I wonder if there were many others also killed but kept silent or secret too because the stirred up the pot with their words, teachings, action others wanted to suppress before it got out of hand like Sitting Bull. Just a thought but makes you go hmm.

  13. Hi Elaine!

    It does make you go hmmmm… doesn’t it? Long ago there was a cult called the Assassins — who ruled China and that part of the world with their ability to drug young men who would then go out and kill the King, if that King disfavored the Assassins. Sometimes, when I look around at what is going on today, I am reminded of this history. AS I see more and more deaths of those who might lead others to higher existences, I am certainly reminded of this very factual history.

  14. Hi Karen,Thanks for all the info on your post, you never cease to amaze me about all the knowledge you have on our Native Americans. Love reading your books. Thanks for a chance to win.

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