In one of the first biographies that appeared at the time of his death, my brother, Vine Deloria Jr., was described as a descendant of Sitting Bull by someone who obviously does not know the difference between a tribe and a bloodline, and this has been repeated in every ''bio'' since then. Those of you who knew him will agree that he would not have appreciated this lack of respect to the family of Sitting Bull, and he would have said something by now.
The facts are as follows: My brothers Vine Jr., Philip Samuel (Sam) and I are registered with the Standing Rock Tribe, and we have always been proud of that fact. We were graciously received by the tribe because our father, The Ven. Vine V. Deloria was born at Wakpala on the Standing Rock since his father, The Rev. Philip Joseph (P.J.) Deloria was stationed at the Episcopal Church's mission there. Although Chief Gall was a parishioner at St. Elizabeth's Church, Sitting Bull did not convert to the Christian religion, and he may have had contact with P.J. off and on, but the only story I know is that P.J. went to see him the day he was killed to ask him to allow himself to be arrested by the Indian Police rather than the U.S. Army to avoid possible bloodshed.
The South Dakota Hall of Fame has a tape made by our father when he was inducted which tells this story. The museum, which sold the tapes, used to be located in Fort Pierre, S.D., but we have not been able to locate the tapes or the museum for many years.
P.J. Deloria was a Yankton, as was his father, Francis (Saswe); and as far back as we know, his wife, Mary was also a Yankton. Her body was returned to Lake Andes for burial when she died. All of the family is buried at Lake Andes except P.J., whose wife at the time had him buried at Mission.
We are proud to belong to the same tribe as Sitting Bull, and consider him to be the great leader of our nation that we all know him to be.
We would never dishonor him by inventing a relationship to use as a hook to interest the American public in our family.
- Barbara Deloria Sanchez
Standing Rock TribeDakota NationTucson, Ariz.