The Sioux Indians lived on the wide Plains of the Dakota Country. The Sioux hunted buffalo. All of the buffalo was used. The Indians ate the meat.
They used the hides for tepees, clothes, shields, and drums. Buffalo bones were used for cups, dishes, tools, and toys. The ribs were used to make sleds. Even the buffalo chips were used as fuel.
Sitting Bull belonged to a warrior society called the Strong Hearts. During one battle with the Crow, Sitting Bull was badly wounded, but he continued to fight. The Strong Hearts made Sitting Bull their chief after he showed his bravery during the battle. Later Sitting Bull became Chief of the Hunkpapa.
The white men were traveling across the Sioux territory to the south and east ruining the hunting grounds. Many Sioux traveled north to get away from the white men. Sitting Bull shared food, clothing, and tepees with these Indians. The white men began to travel north across the Hunkpapa territory. In 1867 the Sioux Nation gathered together and decided to pick one Chief to lead them all. They chose Sitting Bull. Sitting Bull was given a beautiful chief's headdress of black and white eagle feathers. Each feather stood for a brave deed done by the best warriors.
Sitting Bull just wanted the white men to leave his people alone. In 1868 in Laramie the white men made a treaty giving the Black Hills to the Sioux. The territory went north on the Platte River and east of the Big Horn Mountains. Sitting Bull Sioux felt the treaty was great. The Sioux could now live in peace.
Just six years after the treaty was signed gold was discovered in the Black Hills. Miners swarmed into the Sioux territory. Many Indians gathered into the camp of Sitting Bull. They danced the Sun Dance for many days. Sitting Bull danced until he had to be carried to his teepee. Sitting Bull dreamed the Bluecoats were falling from the sky into the Indians' camp. In the dream he saw the Indians win. His dream came true when General George Crook came into the Rosebud Valley with a thousand men. The white men were defeated.
Sitting Bull then moved the Indians to the valley of Little Bighorn River. Eight days later the Bluecoats attacked at Little Bighorn. The battle was led by Colonel Custer. In a very short time Colonel George A. Cluster and all his men were dead.
After the battle of Little Bighorn the Indians could not find enough food. The Chiefs met, but they could not agree on a plan. Some wanted to stay and fight and others wanted to move. The Indians scattered. Sitting Bull led the Hunkpapas north to Canada. The Hunkpapas did not like Canada. They were poor and hungry.
In 1878 messengers came to Canada promising the government in Washington would give the Indians peace, food, and a reservation. With his people starving Sitting Bull rode to Fort Buford in North Dakota to surrender. Sitting Bull was held prisoner of the government for two years. What was left of the Hunkpapa was sent to Standing Rock Reservation.
James McLaughlin was a government agent sent to help the Indians. McLaughlin did little to help the hungry and cold Indians. In 1885 McLaughlin sent Sitting Bull to travel with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Many people wanted to see the old Chief. When Sitting Bull returned to the reservation he found the conditions had grown worse.
Wovoca was a Paiute Indian who had a dream that all the dead warriors would rise up and the buffalo would return. The white men would leave the Indian's land and the Indians could return to their old way of life. The Indians started to believe in Wovoca's dream. They started dancing the Ghost Dance which was to make the dream come true. The white men were afraid of the Indian's Ghost Dance.
In December of 1890 when the white men thought the Indians might attack, McLaughlin sent a party of Indian soldiers to bring Sitting Bull back dead or alive. Fourteen Indians were killed that night. One of them was Sitting Bull. After Sitting Bull's death, the Ghost Dances stopped. More and more white men moved into the Indian territory. The Indians' way of life was gone forever.