Sitting Bull – A Photo Gallery

Sitting Bull, William Notman studios, Montreal, Quebec Canada, during Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show August 1885.

Indian Country Today

A look into the life of the legendary Lakota warrior and leader

Sitting Bull, born around 1831, he became a legendary Lakota warrior and leader against white encroachment. He fought in his first war party at the age of 14.

He is known as the architect in the defeat of General George Armstrong Custer, even though he himself did not fight in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

During a Sun Dance weeks before the battle, Sitting Bull had a vision of the victory. This would not be his only vision.

After Custer’s defeat he led his followers into Canada rather than continue to get harassed by the U.S. Army for not being on reservations. But the scarcity of buffalo forced them to return.

He surrendered to the United States in 1881, but was so famous he could charge up to $2 for an autograph and joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show for a season.

Another vision told him he would be killed by his own people. This vision also came true when Lakota policemen came to question him in 1890 about a Ghost Dance movement and he was shot during a confrontation between them and his relatives and neighbors.

The following is a photo gallery of Sitting Bull’s life:

Library Of Congress/Wikipedia

“The Custer Fight” by Charles Marion Russell. Lithograph. Shows the Battle of Little Bighorn, from the Indian side.

circa 1882. Sitting Bull after surrendering in 1881, during transit from Fort Randall to Standing Rock Agency, photo taken in Pierre, S.D.

Courtesy Cowan’s Auctions

circa 1882. The same photo as previous, this time as a souvenir for sale during Sitting Bull’s time touring with Alvaren Allen’s and Wild Bill Cody’s Wild West shows in 1884 and 1885. This was autographed in Sitting Bull’s square hand in lower portion of the mount.

Courtesy The William F. Cody Archive/McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West

1883.Portrait of Sitting Bull and his family wearing traditional regalia. Sitting Bull’s mother, Her Holy Door sits on his right, wives Four Robes and Seen-By-The-Nation stand behind him, and his oldest daughter, Many Horses and her son sit on his left. Sitting Bull holds a pipe and pipe bag on is lap. Hand written note on verso of card reads, “Sitting Bull & family, Ta Tonka E U tanki, Sioux.”

Courtesy David F. Barry/Library of Congress

Crow Foot, Sitting Bull’s Son. Circa 1885.

Courtesy David F. Barry/Library of Congress

Standing Holy, Sitting Bull’s Daughter circa 1885.

Courtesy David F. Barry/Library of Congress

Sitting Bull circa 1885

Courtesy William Notman & Son/via Sitting Bull College,IMLS

Sitting Bull circa 1885 in Montreal, QC

Courtesy William Notman & Son/via Sitting Bull College,IMLS

Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill in William Notman studios, Montreal, 1885

Courtesy David F. Barry/Library of Congress

Council of Sitting Bull and other Indians at Standing Rock, 1886. Sitting Bull is in a circle of people, wearing blanket and looking around.

Courtesy Library of Congress

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 07 January, 1888. An illustrated article about a recent Sioux Council at standing Rock Agency to consider questions of divine of their reservation lands. Major James McLaughlin, Standing Rock Agent, is portrayed, as is Standing Bull addressing the council. Frank Leslie’s illustrated newspaper, v. 65, no. 1686 (1888 Jan. 7), p. 349.

Courtesy Library of Congress

Indian Service agent James McLaughlin, of Fort Yates. In 1890 McLaughlin would order Sitting Bull’s arrest,leading to his killing.

Courtesy Library of Congress

Text of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper article,07 January, 1888, on “The Sioux Indians of Dakota.”

Courtesy Library of Congress

Sitting Bull address council, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper article, 07 January 1888

Courtesy C.M. Bell/Library of Congress

U.S. Commissioners and Delegations of Sioux Chiefs Visiting Washington D.C. and U.S. Capitol., Sitting Bull, 3rd row, far left.

Courtesy C.M. Bell/Library of Congress

Closer crop of previous photo. Sitting Bull visits U.S. Capitol, October 15, 1888

December 15, 1890, Sitting Bull is killed

Courtesy Library of Congress

circa 1891. Sitting Bull’s Family. Left to right, standing: daughter, Standing Holly; widow, Seen By Her Nation; widow, Lodge In Sight; widow, Four Robes. Seated, uncertain (?)

Circa 1891. D.F. Barry Photograph of Sitting Bull’s Home

Courtesy Cowan's Auctions

1920 Sitting Bull’s Gun

Courtesy Library of Congress

U.S. Vice President Charles Curtis (Kaw Nation) receives peace pipe from Chief Red Tomahawk, slayer of Sitting Bull, 21 June 1929.

Courtesy Tom Isern, 2007

Lakota family members exhumed what they believed to be Sitting Bull’s remains from Fort Yates, North Dakota, transporting them for reinterment near Mobridge, South Dakota, his birthplace. A monument to him was erected there.

This story was originally published January 30, 2015 and has since been updated.