Sitting Bull (ca. 1831–1890) was a warrior, religious leader, and Dakota Indian who united several Sioux tribes in resistance to white incursions on the Great Plains. Sitting Bull first skirmished against US forces in 1863 when American troops attacked the Sioux tribes of Minnesota. For the next several years, Sitting Bull and his followers continued to clash with US troops. In 1866, Sitting Bull joined Crazy Horse and was soon made chief of the entire Sioux nation. In 1868, Sioux leader Red Cloud signed the Treaty of Fort Laramie, which granted the Sioux a reservation in South Dakota. In the 1870s, however, gold was discovered in the Black Hills of the Indian territory, and white settlers rushed in while the Sioux were ordered to leave. In spring 1876, the government began the second Sioux War. Led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, however, the Sioux defeated General George Crook at Rosebud and then General George Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn. After Custer’s death at Little Bighorn, the Army began a relentless pursuit of the Sioux. Crazy Horse and his followers surrendered and Sitting Bull led his followers to Canada before returning to the Dakota Territory to surrender in 1881. He was imprisoned until 1883 and later worked in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show before becoming a leader of the Ghost Dance religious movement. He was killed when Indian police attempted to arrest him for using the Ghost Dance religion to incite unrest.

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