|LAKOTA HUNKPAPAS (SIOUX)|
|1831 - 15 DECEMBRE / DECEMBER 1890|
Sitting Bull, né vers 1831 dans le Dakota du Sud et mort le dans la réserve indienne de Standing Rock, est un chef de tribu etmédecin des Lakotas Hunkpapas (Sioux). Il est un des principaux Amérindiens résistants face à l'armée américaine, notable pour son rôle dans lesguerres indiennes et plus particulièrement la bataille de Little Big Horn du où il affronte George Armstrong Custer.
Sitting Bull est son nom en anglais traduit de son nom en lakota Tĥatĥanka Iyotĥanka ou Tatanka Yotanka qui signifie « bison mâle qui se roule dans la poussière». En français, il peut se traduire par « Bison Assis » ou « Bison au repos » et non la mauvaise traduction "Taureau assis". Sitting Bull était cependant initialement nommé Ȟoká-Psíče (« Jumping Badger », blaireau bondissant), qui était un nom temporaire1, et reçut le nom de son père, Jumping Bull, quand il était adolescent.
Le surnom d'Húŋkešni (« lent ») lui est parfois donné à cause de son habitude à prendre son temps avant de répondre à une question2
Sitting Bull est né dans la région de Grand River dans le Dakota du Sud vers 1831. Il excelle en course à pied et en équitation, et est très précis avec unarc et des flèches3.
Il tue son premier bison à l'âge de dix ans et marque son premier coup au combat à quatorze ans lors d'une bataille contre les Crows4. Il dépasse l'un des guerriers lors de sa retraite et fait tomber le Crow de son cheval. Pour cela, Sitting Bull obtient une plume blanche d'aigle, symbole d'un premier coupNote 1, et reçoit également le nom de son père. Son père a ensuite changé son propre nom en Jumping Bull (« Taureau bondissant »)5. C'est aussi lors de cette cérémonie du passage vers l'âge adulte que Sitting Bull a reçu un bouclier personnalisé de son père, qui était richement décoré d'une scène représentant l'un des rêves de son père.
Mariage et famille
L'histoire familiale de Sitting Bull est peu sûre, mais son premier mariage a eu probablement lieu en 1851 avec une femme nommée Pretty Door ou Light Hair (« Cheveux clairs »)6. En 1857, il a un fils qui meurt de maladie rapidement, et sa femme meurt pendant l'accouchement de celui-ci.
Au moment de la mort de son fils biologique, il adopte son neveu One BullNote 2. Toujours en 1857, Sitting Bull a adopté un jeune Assiniboine comme son frère, et il s'est appelé Jumping Bull en hommage au père de Sitting Bull7.
Sitting Bull avait cinq épouses8.
Statut de holy man
Après ses trente ans , Sitting Bull est devenu un holy man sioux, ou wičháša wakȟáŋ. Ses responsabilités de holy man incluaient la compréhension des rituels religieux complexes et des croyances des Sioux, mais aussi l'apprentissage des phénomènes naturels qui étaient liés aux croyances sioux. Sitting Bull a eu une « intense spiritualité qui régnait dans tout son être [lorsqu'il devint] adulte et qui a alimenté une constante recherche de compréhension de l'univers et de la manière dont, personnellement, il pourrait apporter ses pouvoirs infinis au profit de son peuple »9. Sitting Bull connaissait aussi les techniques de guérison et les plantes médicinales, sans toutefois être un medicine man.
En raison de son statut de holy man, Sitting Bull a été membre de la « Société des Bisons », regroupant ceux qui ont rêvé de bison, et également membre de la « Heyoka », regroupant ceux qui ont rêvé d'oiseaux-tonnerre10.
Il prend une part active aux guerres des plaines des années 1860. Y compris un raid contre fort Bufford en 1866.
Bataille de Little Big Horn
En 1868, il est l'un des seuls chefs sioux à ne pas signer le traité de Fort Laramie. Ce traité fut signé par la majorité des chefs sioux après la victoire de Red Cloud sur la piste du Bozeman : il promettait aux Sioux leurs territoires sacrés des Black Hills mais entraînait la perte de la majeure partie de leurs terrains de chasse et une dépendance aux rations alimentaires distribuées par le gouvernement américain11. Après la rupture du traité par les États-Unis suite à la découverte d'or dans les Black Hills, Sitting Bull dirige le soulèvement sioux. Il est rejoint par des tribus cheyennes et, ensemble (1 500 guerriers et 4 500 civils), ils défont et tuent Custerà la bataille de Little Big Horn le , 168 hommes sont tués, y compris Custer. Sitting Bull ne participe pas lui-même à la bataille car il est homme-médecine, mais confie le commandement à ses chefs de guerre Crazy Horse, Gall et autres.
Fuite au Canada
Poursuivi par l’armée américaine, il est forcé de s’enfuir au Canada (à Lebret, dans la province de la Saskatchewan, plus précisément à la Montagne des Bois). Le détachement de la Police montée du Nord-ouest, de fort Walsh les protège, lui et ses hommes, des troupes américaines. Le super-intendant James Morrow Walshse bâtit une réputation de justice et de gardien de la paix auprès de Sitting Bull et des Lakota. Il les aide à échapper à la vengeance des troupes américaines et à survivre à la disparition des bisons12.
Sitting Bull se lia d'amitié avec le négociant Jean-Louis Légaré, qui aida son peuple à se nourrir et se loger durant tout leur séjour13. C'est aussi lui qui a convaincu Sitting Bull de retourner aux États-Unis lors des négociations entre le gouvernement du Canada, les chefs Sioux et les troupes américaines14.
En 1880, il refuse de se rendre à une délégation américaine venue l'y rencontrer. Sitting Bull et son peuple se rendent en 1881 à fort Randall (Dakota du Sud). Après deux années d'emprisonnement, il est conduit à la réserve de Great River.
Fin de vie
Wild West Show
Il participe au Wild West Show de Buffalo Bill en 1885 aux États-Unis et au Canada, il ne sera pas autorisé à se rendre en Europe, puis il passe les dernières années de sa vie dans la réserve de Great River au Dakota.
En 1889 et en 1890, la danse des esprits se répand sur les réserves Sioux. Sitting Bull soutient les danseurs. En décembre, les américains chargent Buffalo Bill Cody d'un message visant à ordonner l'arrestation de Sitting Bull. Celui ci arrive cependant à la réserve saoul. L'opération est retardée. Le 15 décembre 1890, au matin, 43 policiers Indiens agissant sous les ordres du gouvernement américain encerclent sa maison. L'un d'eux entre et le réveille, lui ordonnant de le suivre. Sitting Bull accepte mais s'habille auparavant, s'arme d'un révolver qu'il cache dans ses vêtements et réveille ses femmes. La police Indienne avait l'intention d'agir vite pour ne pas provoquer d'émeute. C'est alors que le fils de Sitting Bull, Crow foot, le traite de lâche et l'encourage à résister. D'autres membres de la réserve accourent. Sitting Bull se débat et le policier placé derrière lui tire une balle dans la nuque. Sitting Bull fut tué par "Bull Head", lui-même tué par "Catch the bear". Outre Sitting Bull et son fils, sept partisans et cinq policiers perdirent la vie ce jour-là. Seule l'arrivée de la cavalerie sauva la police indienne de l'extermination.
Selon la légende sioux, une alouette lui avait annoncé sa mort en chantant : "Les Sioux te tueront".
Sitting Bull (Lakota: Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake in Standard Lakota Orthography, also nicknamed Slon-he or "Slow"; c. 1831 – December 15, 1890) was a HunkpapaLakota holy man who led his people as a tribal chief during years of resistance to United States government policies. He was killed by Indian agency police on theStanding Rock Indian Reservation during an attempt to arrest him at a time when authorities feared that he would join the Ghost Dance movement.
Before the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull had a vision in which he saw the defeat of the 7th Cavalry under Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer on June 25, 1876. Sitting Bull's leadership motivated his people to a major victory. Months after their victory at the battle, Sitting Bull and his group left the United States forWood Mountain, Saskatchewan, where he remained until 1881, at which time he surrendered to U.S. forces. A small remnant of his band under Chief Waŋblí Ǧí decided to stay at Wood Mountain.
After working as a performer, Sitting Bull returned to the Standing Rock Agency in South Dakota. Because of fears that he would use his influence to support theGhost Dance movement, Indian Service agent James McLaughlin at Fort Yates ordered his arrest. During an ensuing struggle between Sitting Bull's followers and the agency police, Sitting Bull was shot in the side and head by Standing Rock policemen Lieutenant Bull Head (Tatankapah) and Red Tomahawk (Marcelus Chankpidutah) after the police were fired upon by Sitting Bull's supporters. His body was taken to nearby Fort Yates for burial, but in 1953, his remains were possibly exhumed and reburied near Mobridge, South Dakota, by his Lakota family, who wanted his body to be nearer to his birthplace.
Sitting Bull was born in Dakota Territory. In 2007, Sitting Bull's great-grandson asserted from family oral tradition that Sitting Bull was born along theYellowstone River, south of present-day Miles City, Montana. He was named Jumping Badger at birth. In traditional Lakota fashion, he was later given one of his father's names, Tȟatȟaŋka Iyotȟaŋka, translated as "Sitting Bull", due to a leadership role in a battle between the Lakota and Crow people.
During the Dakota War of 1862, in which Sitting Bull's people were not involved, several bands of eastern Dakota people killed an estimated 300 to 800 settlers and soldiers in south-central Minnesota in response to poor treatment by the government and in an effort to drive the whites away. Despite being embroiled in theAmerican Civil War, the United States Army retaliated in 1863 and 1864, even against bands which had not been involved in the hostilities. In 1864, two brigades of about 2200 soldiers under Brigadier General Alfred Sully attacked a village. The defenders were led by Sitting Bull, Gall and Inkpaduta. The Lakota and Dakota were driven out, but skirmishing continued into August.
In September, Sitting Bull and about 100 Hunkpapa Lakota came across a small party near what is now Marmarth, North Dakota. They had been left behind by awagon train commanded by Captain James L. Fisk to effect some repairs to an overturned wagon. When he led an attack, Sitting Bull was shot in the left hip by a soldier. The bullet exited out through the small of his back, and the wound was not too serious.
Red Cloud's War
Sitting Bull led numerous war parties against Fort Berthold, Fort Stevenson, and Fort Buford and their environs from 1865 through 1868. Although Red Cloudwas a leader of the Oglala Lakota, his leadership and attacks against forts in the Powder River Country of Montana were supported by Sitting Bull's guerrillaattacks on emigrant parties and smaller forts throughout the upper Missouri River region.
By early 1868, the U.S. government desired a peaceful settlement to Red Cloud's War. It agreed to Red Cloud's demands that Forts Phil Kearny and C.F. Smith be abandoned. Chief Gall of the Hunkpapas (among other representatives of the Hunkpapas, Blackfeet, and Yankton Dakota) signed a form of the Treaty of Fort Laramie on July 2, 1868 at Fort Rice (near Bismarck, North Dakota). Sitting Bull did not agree to the treaty. He continued his hit-and-run attacks on forts in the upper Missouri area throughout the late 1860s and early 1870s.
The events of –1868 mark a historically debated period of Sitting Bull's life. According to historian Stanley Vestal, who conducted interviews with surviving Hunkpapa in 1930, Sitting Bull was made "Supreme Chief of the whole Sioux Nation" at this time. Later historians and ethnologists have refuted this concept of authority, as the Lakota society was highly decentralised. Lakota bands and their elders made individual decisions.
The Great Sioux War of 1876
Sitting Bull's band of Hunkpapa continued to attack migrating parties and forts in the late 1860s. When in 1871 the Northern Pacific Railway conducted a survey for a route across the northern plains directly through Hunkpapa lands, it encountered stiff Lakota resistance. The same railway people returned the following year accompanied by federal troops. Sitting Bull and the Hunkpapa attacked the survey party, which was forced to turn back. In 1873, the military accompaniment for the surveyors was increased again, but Sitting Bull's forces resisted the survey "most vigorously."
The Panic of 1873 forced the Northern Pacific Railway's backers (such as Jay Cooke) into bankruptcy. This halted construction of the railroad through Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota territory. After the discovery and new wealth from gold in California, other men became interested in the potential for gold mining in the Black Hills. In 1874, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer led a military expedition from Fort Abraham Lincoln near Bismarck, to explore the Black Hills for gold and to determine a suitable location for a military fort in the Hills. Custer's announcement of gold in the Black Hills triggered the Black Hills Gold Rush. Tensions increased between the Lakota and European Americans' seeking to move into the Black Hills.
Although Sitting Bull did not attack Custer's expedition in 1874, the US government was increasingly pressured to open the Black Hills to mining and settlement. It was alarmed at reports of Sioux depredations (encouraged by Sitting Bull). In November 1875, the government ordered all Sioux bands outside the Great Sioux Reservation to move onto the reservation, knowing full well that not all would comply. As of February 1, 1876, the Interior Department certified as "hostile" those bands who continued to live off the reservation. This certification allowed the military to pursue Sitting Bull and other Lakota bands as "hostiles".
According to the historian Margot Liberty, many Lakota bands allied with the Cheyenne during the Plains Wars because they thought the other nation was under attack by the US. Given this connection, she suggests the major war should have been called "The Great Cheyenne War". Since 1860, the Northern Cheyenne had led several battles among the Plains Indians. Before 1876, the US Army had destroyed seven Cheyenne camps, more than those of any other nation.
However, other historians such as Robert M. Utley and Jerome Greene also use Lakota oral testimony as the basis for their conclusions that the Lakota coalition, of which Sitting Bull was the ostensible head, was the primary target of the federal government's pacification campaign.
Battle of the Little Bighorn
During the period 1868–1876, Sitting Bull developed into the most important of Native American chiefs. After the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) and the creation of the Great Sioux Reservation, many traditional Sioux warriors, such as Red Cloud of the Oglala and Spotted Tail of the Brulé, moved to reside permanently on the reservations. They were largely dependent for subsistence on the US Indian agencies. Many other chiefs, including members of Sitting Bull's Hunkpapa band such as Gall, at times lived temporarily at the agencies. They needed the supplies at a time when white encroachment and the depletion of buffalo herds reduced their resources and challenged Native American independence.
In 1875, the Northern Cheyenne, Hunkpapa, Oglala, Sans Arc, and Minneconjou camped together for a Sun Dance, with both the Cheyenne medicine man White Bull or Ice and Sitting Bull in association. This ceremonial alliance preceded their fighting together in 1876. Sitting Bull had a major revelation.
At the climactic moment, "Sitting Bull intoned, 'The Great Spirit has given our enemies to us. We are to destroy them. We do not know who they are. They may be soldiers.' Ice too observed, 'No one then knew who the enemy were – of what tribe.'...They were soon to find out."(Utley 1992: 122–24)
Sitting Bull's refusal to adopt any dependence on the white man meant that at times he and his small band of warriors lived isolated on the Plains. When Native Americans were threatened by the United States, numerous members from various Sioux bands and other tribes, such as the North Cheyenne, came to Sitting Bull's camp. His reputation for "strong medicine" developed as he continued to evade the European Americans.
After the January 1st ultimatum of 1876, when the US Army began to track down Sioux and others living off the reservation as hostiles, Native Americans gathered at Sitting Bull's camp. The chief took an active role in encouraging this "unity camp". He sent scouts to the reservations to recruit warriors, and told the Hunkpapa to share supplies with those Native Americans who joined them. An example of his generosity was Sitting Bull's taking care of Wooden Leg's Northern Cheyenne tribe. They had been impoverished by Captain Reynold's March 17, 1876 attack and fled to Sitting Bull's camp for safety.
The Hunkpapa chief provided resources to sustain the new recruits. Over the course of the first half of 1876, Sitting Bull's camp continually expanded, as natives joined him for safety in numbers. His leadership had attracted the warriors and families of an extensive village, estimated at more than 10,000 people. Lt. Col. Custer came across this large camp on June 25, 1876. Sitting Bull did not take a direct military role in the ensuing battle; instead he acted as a spiritual chief and had performed the Sun Dance, in which he fasted and sacrificed over 100 pieces of flesh from his arms, a week prior to the attack.
Custer’s 7th Cavalry advance party attacked Cheyenne and Lakota tribes at their camp on the Little Big Horn River (known as the Greasy Grass River to the Lakota) on June 25, 1876. The U.S. Army did not realize how large the camp was. More than 2,000 Native American warriors had left their reservations to follow Sitting Bull. Inspired by a vision of Sitting Bull’s, in which he saw U.S. soldiers being killed as they entered the tribe’s camp, the Cheyenne and Lakota fought back. Custer's badly outnumbered troops lost ground quickly and were forced to retreat. The tribes led a counter-attack against the soldiers on a nearby ridge, ultimately annihilating them.
The Native Americans' victory celebrations were short-lived. Public shock and outrage at Custer's death and defeat, and the government's knowledge about the remaining Sioux, led them to assign thousands more soldiers to the area. Over the next year, the new American military forces pursued the Lakota, forcing many of the Native Americans to surrender. Sitting Bull refused to surrender and in May 1877 led his band across the border into Saskatchewan, Canada. He remained in exile for four years near Wood Mountain, refusing a pardon and the chance to return. When crossing the border into Saskatchewan, Sitting Bull was met by the Canadian Mounties of the region. During this meeting, James Morrow Walsh, commander of the North-West Mounted Police, explained to Sitting Bull that the Lakota were now on British soil and must obey British law. Walsh emphasized that he enforced the law equally and that every person in the territory had a right to justice. Walsh became an advocate for Sitting Bull and the two became good friends for the remainder of their lives.
Also while in Canada Sitting Bull met with chief Crowfoot, who was a chief of the Blackfeet, long-time powerful enemies of the Lakota and Cheyenne. Sitting Bull wished to make peace with the Blackfeet Nation and Crowfoot. Being an advocate for peace himself, Crowfoot eagerly accepted the tobacco peace offering. Sitting Bull was so impressed by the Blackfeet chief that he named one of his sons after him. Sitting Bull and his men only stayed in Canada for 4 years. Due to the smaller size of the buffalo herds in Canada, Sitting Bull and his men found it difficult to find enough food to feed his people, who were starving and exhausted. Furthermore, due to Sitting Bull’s presence in the country, there had been a growth in tension between the Canadian and the United States governments. Before Sitting Bull left Saskatchewan, he may have visited Walsh for a final time and left a ceremonial headdress as a memento.
Hunger and desperation eventually forced Sitting Bull, and 186 of his family and followers to return to the United States and surrender on July 19, 1881. Sitting Bull had his young son Crow Foot surrender his Winchester lever-action carbine to Major David H. Brotherton, commanding officer of Fort Buford in the parlor of the Commanding Officer's Quarters in a ceremony the next day. He told the 4 soldiers, 20 warriors and other guests in the small room, that he wished to regard the soldiers and the white race as friends but he wanted to know who would teach his son the new ways of the world. Two weeks later, after waiting in vain for other members of his tribe to follow him from Canada, the Army transferred Sitting Bull and his band to Fort Yates, the military post located adjacent to the Standing Rock Agency, which straddles the present-day boundary of North and South Dakota.
Sitting Bull and his band of 186 people were kept separate from the other Hunkpapa gathered at the agency. Army officials were concerned that the famed chief would stir up trouble among the recently surrendered northern bands. On August 26, 1881, he was visited by the census taker William T. Selwyn, who counted twelve people in the Hunkpapa leader's immediate family. Forty-one families, totaling 195 people, were recorded in Sitting Bull's band.
The military decided to transfer him and his band to Fort Randall, to be held as prisoners of war. Loaded onto a steamboat, the band of 172 people was sent down the Missouri River to Fort Randall (near present-day Pickstown, South Dakota on the southern border of the state). There they spent the next 20 months. They were allowed to return north to the Standing Rock Agency in May 1883.
Wild West Show participation
In 1885, Sitting Bull was allowed to leave the reservation to go Wild Westing with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Buffalo Bill's Wild West. He earned about $50 a week for riding once around the arena, where he was a popular attraction. Although it is rumored that he cursed his audiences in his native tongue during the show, the historian Utley contends that he did not. Historians have reported that Sitting Bull gave speeches about his desire for education for the young, and reconciling relations between the Sioux and whites. The historian Edward Lazarus wrote that Sitting Bull reportedly cursed his audience in Lakotain 1884, during an opening address celebrating the completion of the Northern Pacific Railway.
During his participation with the Wild West show, Sitting Bull met Annie Oakley. He was so impressed with Oakley's skills with firearms that he offered $65 for a photographer to take a photo of the two together. The admiration and respect of was mutual. Oakley stated that Sitting Bull made a "great pet" of her. Over time, Sitting Bull's respect for the young sharpshooter grew. Oakley was quite modest in her attire, deeply respectful of others and had a remarkable stage persona despite being a woman who stood only five feet in height. Sitting Bull felt that she was "gifted" by supernatural means in order to shoot so accurately with both hands. As a result of his esteem, he adopted her as a daughter in 1884. He named her "Little Sure Shot" -- a name that Oakley used throughout her career.
Sitting Bull stayed with the show for four months before returning home. During that time, audiences began to consider him a celebrity and a romanticized warrior. He earned a small fortune by charging for his autograph and picture, although he often gave his money away to the homeless and beggars.
In 1883, rumors surfaced that Sitting Bull had been baptized into the Catholic Church. James McLaughlin, Indian agent at Standing Rock Agency, dismissed these reports, saying that "The reported baptism of Sitting-Bull is erroneous. There is no immediate prospect of such ceremony so far as I am aware." 
Death and burial
Sitting Bull returned to the Standing Rock Agency after working in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. In 1890, James McLaughlin, the U.S. Indian Agent at Fort Yates on Standing Rock Agency, feared that the Lakota leader was about to flee the reservation with the Ghost Dancers, so he ordered the police to arrest him. On December 14, 1890, McLaughlin drafted a letter to Lt. Henry Bullhead that included instructions and a plan to capture the chief. The plan called for the arrest to take place at dawn on December 15, and advised the use of a light spring wagon to facilitate the chief's removal before his followers could rally. Bullhead decided against using the wagon. He intended to have the police officers force Sitting Bull to mount a horse immediately after the arrest.
Around 5:30 a.m. on December 15, 39 police officers and four volunteers approached Sitting Bull's house. They surrounded the house, knocked and entered. Bullhead told Sitting Bull that he was under arrest and led him outside. The camp awakened and men converged at the house of their chief. As Bullhead ordered Sitting Bull to mount a horse, he explained that the Indian Affairs agent needed to see him and then he could return to his house. Sitting Bull refused to comply and the police used force on him. The Sioux in the village were enraged. Catch-the-Bear, a Lakota, shouldered his rifle and shot Bullhead who, in return, fired his revolver into the chest of Sitting Bull. Another police officer, Red Tomahawk, shot Sitting Bull in the head, and the chief dropped to the ground. He died between 12 and 1 p.m.
A close-quarters fight erupted, and within minutes several men were dead. Six policemen were killed immediately and two more died shortly after the fight. Sitting Bull and seven of his supporters lay dead, along with two horses.
Sitting Bull's body was taken to Fort Yates to be placed in a coffin (made by the Army carpenter) and for burial. In 1953 Lakota family members exhumed what they believed to be his remains, to be reinterred near Mobridge, South Dakota, his birthplace.
----- > Fils / Son : Julius Standing Buffalo.
----- > Petit fils / Grandson : Joseph Arthur Standing Buffalo: 78eme bn, 1ere guerre mondiale, mort de ses blessures et enterrés en France. /
78th Bn, World War one, Dief of wounded and buried in France.
Date de dernière mise à jour : 30/09/2014