Sitting Bull was the supreme Indian during his time. He was a chief and holy man under whom the Lakota tribes came in coalition in their struggle for survival on the northern plains, Sitting Bull remained defiant toward American military power and scornful of American promises to the end. At a place Lakota called "Many Caches" for they had dug there, Sitting Bull was given the name Tatanka-Iyotanka, which describes a buffalo bull sitting stubbornly on its haunches. He would live up to throughout his life up to a name.
Amazingly, at a young age, Sitting Bull became a leader of the Strong Heart warrior society and, later, a distinguished member of the Silent Eaters, a group concerned with tribal welfare. He first went to battle at age 14, in a raid on the Crow, and he saw his first encounter with American soldiers, when the army mounted an extensive movement in vengeance for the Santee Rebellion, in which Sitting Bull's people played no part.
The next year Sitting Bull fought bravely against U.S. troops again, at the Battle of Killdeer Mountain, and he led a blockade against the recently reputable Fort Rice in present day North Dakota. Widely respected for his bravery for his bravery and insight, he became head chief of the Lakota nation.
Sitting Bull's courage and audacity was legendary. Once, during a battle with soldiers protecting railroad workers on the Yellowstone River, Sitting Bull led four other warriors out between the lines, sat calmly and evenly sharing a pipe with them as bullets buzzed around, carefully reamed the pipe out when they were finished, and then casually walked away. The stage was set for war between Sitting Bull and the U.S. Army in 1874, when an expedition confirmed that gold had been discovered in...