Sitting BullBook - 2008
An Acclaimed Biography of the Greatest American Indian Leader
Sitting Bull's name is still the best known of any American Indian leader, but his life and legacy remain shrouded with misinformation and half-truths. Sitting Bull's life spanned the entire clash of cultures and ultimate destruction of the Plains Indian way of life. He was a powerful leader and a respected shaman, but neither fully captures the enigma of Sitting Bull. He was a good friend of Buffalo Bill and skillful negotiator with the American government, yet erroneously credited with both murdering Custer at the Little Big Horn and with being the chief instigator of the Ghost Dance movement. The reality of his life, as Bill Yenne reveals in his absorbing new portrait, Sitting Bull , is far more intricate and compelling. Tracing Sitting Bull's history from a headstrong youth and his first contact with encroaching settlers, through his ascension as the spiritual and military leader of the Lakota, friendship with a Swiss-American widow from New York, and death at the hands of the Indian police on the eve of the massacre at Wounded Knee, Yenne scoured rare contemporary records and consulted Sitting Bull's own "Hieroglyphic Autobiography" in the course of his research. While Sitting Bull was the leading figure of Plains Indian resistance his message, as Yenne explains, was of self-reliance, not violence. At the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull was not confronting Custer as popular myth would have it, but riding through the Lakota camp making sure the most defenseless of his tribe--the children--were safe. In Sitting Bul l we find a man who, in the face of an uncertain future, helped ensure the survival of his people.