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Review over the Paradox of Sitting Bull



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    In the late 1800’s the Americans viciously forced many Native Americans off their lands all because the federal government wanted the U. S. to expand and obtain Manifest Destiny. The main Native American and tribe that stood against the federal government was Sitting Bull, Chief of the Sioux and entire Lakota nation. He led a large amount of Sioux warriors in many battles against the American government that were fought over the rights and lands of the Lakota nation.

    He was against the American government and the forceful ways that they took over Indian lands, and therefore he used his strong, spiritual leadership abilities to battle against the American government as well as the U. S army. The author of the biography Sitting Bull and the Paradox of Lakota Nationhood, was written by Gary C. Anderson, because he feels that all Americans should acknowledge the will-power, leadership, determination, and courage of a man like Sitting Bull before him and his impact on Native American and American history is forgotten and lost like most history.

    As the Americans moved farther and farther westward, they had no reason to harshly force the Indians off their homelands, and Sitting Bull’s refusal against the American government and its armies has left an impact that has shaped the culture many Native American’s way of life. 1) (a) What seven bands constituted the Lakota nation? (b) Describe the socio-political structure of the Lakotas and its relationship to their buffalo-hunting economy. (a) The seven bands that constituted the Lakota nation were the Yankton, Yanktonai, Dakota, Sisseton, Wahpeton, Wahpekute, and the Mdewakanton tribes.

    Theses tribes lived over a vast area that made up the Lakota nation. The Yankton and Yankonai tribes were settled east of the Missouri river. These two tribes were branches, so to speak, of the larger Nakota Sioux tribe. The Dakota tribe was a branch of the Eastern Sioux the Sisseton, Wahpeton, Wahpekute, and Mdewakanton tribes resided in what is now known as Minnesota and Iowa, making up the final part of the Lakota nation. (b) The Lakotas formed a very unique economy that strongly influenced their socio-political structure.

    This related to their buffalo-hunting economy in that they would often trade for horses and supplies. The buffalo that they killed with these horses would often be used food, clothing, shelter, and religious purposes within the tribe. Some of the different things from the buffalo would also go towards trade for more horses and supplies so that they could continue to kill buffalo and provide for the tribes and nation. Buffalo also provided a market within tribe as well as being central focus point for everything that the Lakotas believed in. 2) (a) Describe the events leading up to the attack on Little Thunder’s camp. b) What were some of the immediate effects of the Colonel William S. Harney’s 1855 campaign? (a) The Lakota Indians were very protective of their nation as well as the land that it contained, and because of this reason they were often left alone and rarely got messed with. A group of Mormon immigrants in 1855 that were moving a herd of cattle, were traveling along the Lakota’s land when they decided to establish a camp site. While they were camped one of the cattle from the herd wandered away into Lakota land and was then killed by Sioux for the use of Little Thunder and his camp.

    The Mormon camp commander then figured out what had happened to his cow and sent for Lieutenant John L. Grattan and twenty-eight soldiers for them to find out whoever killed the cow, and capture them. When Lieutenant Grattan and his men confronted the Sioux that were in Little John’s camp about which man had killed the cow the Sioux refused to confess the name of the man who had killed the cow. Since the Sioux refused to tell who killed the cow Grattan and his men attacked Little Thunder’s camp. The Sioux did fight back which led to the death of Lieutenant Grattan and most of his men. b) After the attack Colonel William S. Harney was then chosen to go back to Little Thunder’s camp and obtain vengeance on the Sioux camp for the death of Lieutenant Grattan and his men. Colonel Harney and his men then marched to Little Thunder’s camp and surprised the entire camp forcing Little Thunder to surrender 250 of his warriors and men. Even though the camp had surrendered Colonel Harney went back into the camp and killed 86 Sioux, 70 of which were women and children. One of the effects that came from this and Harney’s campaign in 1855 was that he forced the Sioux to sign yet another treaty.

    This treaty stated that the Sioux tribe would have to surrender all stolen lands as well as surrendering any man that is found guilty of killing a white man. 3) (a) Describe the events leading up to the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. (b) What did the treaty stipulate? (c) Did the Lakotas fully understand its provisions? (a) A tribe called Red Cloud that is a branch of the Lakotas that continued to attack the lands outside their tribal territory. They attacked wagons and stole all the supplies that they could.

    This triggered a response by the American army, and Colonel Henry B. Carrington led the men that would eventually stop these attacks. With Colonel Carrington leading the attack he ordered Captain William J. Fetterman to acquire the stolen items that were stolen by the tribe. Captain Fetterman, however, felt that he could defeat all Sioux men with a small militia by attacking the Indians in what would be now known today as the military tactic of guerrilla warfare, but instead, the Red Cloud tribe ambushed them and killed all of Captain Fetterman’s men.

    After this, Congress wanted to make peace with the Red Cloud tribe as well as the entire Lakota nation. To make this peace Congress decided to try to negotiate a treaty with the Lakotas. After much negotiation the Lakotas finally agreed to sign the treaty even though they still wanted to fight the whites that entered their land. They did this at Fort Laramie in 1968 and what is now known as the Fort Laramie Treaty. (b) The treaty stipulated that the Lakotas land would be moved as well as being set to different barriers. c) The Sioux defiantly didn’t fully understand the treaty and its provisions. They soon realized that the treaty forced them to move to lands that were geographically nothing like they were used to. This confused the Sioux, and because of these new confusing lands it forced them to start learning and living a whole different lifestyle.

    4) (a) Why did Paha Sapa—the Black Hills—become the focal point of the tensions between the Lakotas and the United States government in the fall of 1875 and the spring of 1876? (b) What two principal factions developed among the Lakotas? a) The Paha Sapa, otherwise known as the Black Hills, became the central focus point between the Lakotas and the Federal government because of rumors that there were large gold deposits in the region of South Dakota that contained the Black Hills. This tension began between the fall of 1875 and the spring of 1876 between the Americans and Lakotas over the Black Hills and who would control them. The U. S. then sent a group of military men to explore the land. This was led by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer.

    During the expedition, the men discovered very few evidences of precious metals but some gold did surface. The Sioux wanted Colonel Custer and his men to leave their land and go back to Washington. Custer then complained to the federal government about the quality of the reservation which led to the asking by the federal government to the Sioux to sell their land, and for them to move south to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. The Sioux then refused many offers by the federal government which then led to war between the U. S. and Sioux over the Black Hills. (b) The Lakotas developed two principal factions.

    One was that the Sioux felt like it could compete with the federal government and its arm and the other group included the Sioux that were against fighting the federal government and its army because they thought that they would be out-numbered and lose everything that they owned. 5) (a) Define the terms tiospaye and wicotipi. (b) What important impact did they have on Hunkpapa history? (c) What functions did they perform for the Lakota tribe? (a) Tiospaye was the collection of families that made up the Hunkpapa band. Wicotipi describes closely related kin that were also the smallest camp unit. b) The importance and impact that these groups had on the Hunkpapa history were that they kept the groups in order and provided them with organization. These two groups also stayed unified as one, and because of this they lived a better life as well as staying together through the good and bad. (c) The function that these two groups performed for the Lakota tribe were that it gave relatives a way to give a person a name or identity as well as giving the person a desire to become a leader.

    6) (a) Describe the relationship that wicasa wakans had with the mystery power, Wakantanka. a) Sitting Bull had a reputation as a spiritual man, and with this reputation came the name wicasa wakan. This meant that he could see things from past and use this to predict things in the future through his dreams and visions. It was told by native ancestors that successful wicasa wakan were able to have special relationships with animals allowing them to be able to communicate with the animals. The mystery power known as Wakantanka, was a trait that the tribal elders saw in Sitting Bull because they had noticed how he was such a good wicasa wakan. ) (a) Discuss the significance of male societies to the seven Lakota bands. (b) Define the following terms: ate, blotaunka, wotawe, akicita, wakiconza. (a) There were several male societies in the seven Lakota bands that were significant in many ways. Some of the male societies had the privilege of developing power within the tribe while others had much less significant roles. The societies that were smaller were often more tightly bonded. They liked to smoke and hunt together, and then gather to feast over the game they had killed. (b) An ate is a term that means father. A blotaunka was a war chief.

    A wotawe was a medicine bag. Akicita meant that it corresponded to police. A Wakiconza was a warrior as well as being a peacemaker that was used among the Oglala and Brule, but was never used within the Hunkpapa. 8) (a) How well did the federal army coordinate its attack on the so-called “hostile” Sioux in 1876? (b) How did the army’s campaign offer the Lakotas an opportunity to defend themselves? (a) In 1876, the Sioux were considered to be very hostile, and the federal government decided to send its army to try to slow down the Sioux. The General that led the attack was General Phillip H.

    Sheridan. He commanded his army to attack the Sioux from three directions. He assigned General George Crook to lead the army that would come up from the south, he then sent General Alfred Terry and some troops to go block the Sioux from crossing the Yellowstone River, and Colonel George Custer was assigned to block the Sioux from reaching the eastern villages. General Sheridan, however, didn’t strategize this well because he didn’t take into account that it was winter time and that the Yellowstone River had already frozen allowing the Sioux to cross the river in any area they pleased. b) With this being the case General Sheridan’s army now had to wait for several months so that the river could thaw, and this allowed for the Sioux and Lakota nation to gather warriors and prepare for battle. The Americans soon realized that the Sioux army outnumbered each of the three American flanks that were being used to block the Sioux in. This caused the Sioux and Lakota nation to defend itself with ease. 9) Many young Indians from the reservations joined Sitting Bull in the defense of the Lakota homeland in the spring of 1876. (a) How many did so, (b) and why? a) In 1872, the young men of the Lakota reservations left so that they could go learn how to hunt and dance while Sitting Bull went to discover knowledge that was looking to be given to him by Wakantanka. In the spring of 1876, General Custer waited for the grass to grow so that his horses were supported. This caused many more young Indians to join Sitting Bull and his effort to defend the Lakota nation and everything that it contained. The number of young Indians that joined Sitting Bull increased from 450 lodges in 1872 to 500 lodges in 1876.

    This equaled out to be about 1000 extra young Indians that would fight alongside of Sitting Bull and his warriors. (b) The young Indians decided to do help Sitting Bull because they realized the need that Sitting Bull needed as many men as possible. Sitting Bull professed that he needed all of these young Indians along with the rest of his warriors so that they could have the best chance possible fight against the American military. 10) (a) Given the victory of the Sioux nation at the Little Big Horn, why did the nation so quickly fall apart thereafter? (b) Did the decline have anything to do with Sitting Bull’s leadership? a) Following the victory at Little Big Horn the Sioux nation began to quickly fall apart. The amount of Indian and American casualties that were a result of the battle was a main reason that the Sioux nation fell apart. The Sioux celebrated the fact that they had won along with taunting the dead American bodies. They did, however, mourn over the Sioux that had died in battle. This caused chaos within the nation making it hard for Sitting Bull to recover the control of his nation. Indians strayed away from the organized structure that was previously established within the nation.

    Sitting Bull’s efforts to try and regain this organized society turned out to be lost cause because of the great deal of chaos that had occurred. (b) The decline of the Sioux nation had very little to do with Sitting Bull’s leadership. The Nation was in such a mess that it was literally impossible to overcome and fix. He also was the major contributor in defending the Sioux and their nation against the American army that was nothing but good leadership. 11) (a) Following Custer’s defeat, how did the federal government solve the problem over the ownership of the Black Hills? b) Was this a fair settlement? (a) After General Custer’s defeat the federal government’s main goal was to settle the ownership of the Black Hills. This led to congress violating the treaty it had with the Sioux and Lakota nation by refusing to provide the money for food that they had promised the Indians. As time went on the Indians began to starve forcing the Lakota leaders to sign new agreements. The agreements stated that the federal government would obtain ownership of the Black Hills along with the hunting territory that bordered it. (b) This settlement was unfair.

    The settlement required for three-fourths of the adult males to sign the agreement in order for it to pass. It became unfair when only a few of the adult males signed the agreement. The federal government didn’t allow the chance for the rest of adult male Indians to sign the agreement, but instead declared that the agreement had passed and that the Black Hills was now in possession of the federal government. 12) (a) After Sitting Bull fled to Canada, how was he treated? (b) Was the Presence of Sioux warriors on Canadian soil an embarrassment? c) Why did Sitting Bull eventually surrender? (a) Sitting Bull and the rest of the Sioux were forced to flee into Canada. Sitting Bull was then treated with great respect in Canada. Major Ross of Canada informed Sitting Bull that he was in the protection of the Queen and her government. (b) The presence of the Sioux warriors on Canadian soil was about the farthest thing from an embarrassment. Canada had a great supply of buffalo on its western side that the Sioux could hunt and kill for their own use for things like food, shelter, clothing, and tools and supplies.

    The tools and supplies made from the buffalo could also be traded to traders in exchange for ammunition and other supplies that the Indians couldn’t make themselves. Canada seemed like the perfect new home for the Sioux. (c) Once the Sioux felt like they had just begun to settle in the federal government of the U. S. started to threaten Canada saying that they were going to invade Canada and attack the Sioux. The Canadian government was not going to allow this to happen, and the made an appeal to the Americans asking them for their cooperation by allowing the Sioux to keep their guns and horses.

    Sitting Bull then eventually surrendered after he took his final 100 men back to Fort Buford, and returned back to Wood Mountain only to discover that only a few dozen men and women had made it. There was no food supply, and his fellow Sioux were starving. The Sioux were forced to wear rags and had a limited number of horses to ride and use. Sitting Bull felt that all his work as well as his plan was lost forcing him to give up. 13) (a) What issues did the Lakota people face when located on the Standing Rock Reservation? (b) How did Agent James McLaughlin promote American “civilization” at Standing Rock? a) Several issues faced the Lakota people once they were located on the Standing Rock reservation. When they got to Standing Rock they were forced to learn and follow a foreign religion that completely contradicted the religious beliefs that they had previously possessed. Another issue that the Sioux faced was that instead of their longtime lifestyle of being hunter-gatherers they were forced to become farmers and plant crops.

    It took the Sioux a while to become accustomed to this new forced upon way of living because nothing that the Sioux had previously done or practiced had prepared them for this new lifestyle. b) Agent James McLaughlin then promoted American “civilization” among the Sioux by rewarding the leaders with food, clothing, and even a few small firearms that could be used to hunt small game. He also created police system within the Sioux along with handing out badges to reward them if they did well. This was an extreme culture shock and change for the Sioux on Standing Rock, but with Agent McLaughlin’s help they adjusted better than they would have if they would not have had him at all. 14) (a) Discuss the relationship between the ghost dance, Sitting Bull’s death, and the massacre at Wounded Knee. b) Did the government overreact to the ghost dance movement? (c) Was the tragedy at Wounded Knee inevitable? (d) Are any events in history inevitable? (a) Three events directly correlated a relationship of Sitting Bull’s death. The first event would be the ghost dance. The ghost dance was a spiritual dance of Sitting Bull’s that gave him a way to see the future through his visions. The small tribe at Standing Rock decided to use this dance of Sitting Bull’s and after a while Agent McLaughlin thought it was becoming a big deal. This caused him to bring in the police so that they could settle down the small Sioux tribe.

    This turned out to be a bad decision because the officers over-reacted and proceeded to open fire upon the non-expectant Sioux. The Sioux put up a fight but were no match to the officers. After the tragedy ended eight Sioux lay dead on the ground, one of which was Sitting Bull. During the breakout he was drug by two officers, Bull Head and Shaved Head, at gun point. Simultaneously during the dragging of Sitting Bull one of Sitting Bull’s men shot Bull Head in the side while Bull Head shot Sitting Bull in the back. A Indian officer named Red Tomahawk then shot Sitting Bull, to kill him for good, in the back of the head.

    This would be the second event that correlates a relationship between the ghost dance and massacre at Wounded Knee. The massacre at Wounded Knee would be the third event that correlates a relationship between the previous two events. In Sitting Bull’s younger days there was a massacre known as Wounded Knee. This was when Sitting Bull and a group of Sioux warriors went into battle against the American army. Before actually fighting Sitting Bull and the Sioux warriors raised their guns and surrendered, but during the raising of the guns on of the guns accidently went off.

    The army over-reacted and opened fire on the Indians killing many. These three events relate to each other in that in each event an American or multiple Americans over-reacted to a harmless situation that Sitting Bull and his Sioux followers performed. (b) The ghost dance movement was a harmless dance that was acted upon in an extreme way. The U. S. government along with Agent McLaughlin overacted to extreme. There was no need in firing upon the small Sioux tribe that was practicing their dance, and who were also not expecting anyone to attack them. c) The tragedy at Wounded Knee was defiantly inevitable. Once the Americans saw that Sitting Bull and his men had surrendered the Americans should have lowered their guns as well. This would have prevented the massacre all together. (d) I believe that events that happen in history are inevitable in certain ways. One way is that if mistakes and accidents are eliminated in situations before they happen; the event would happen in a different way that would have a different effect on the course of history.

    Another way for history to be inevitable would be if a person were to be able notice that something bad is about to happen. They then could possibly prevent the bad action which would make that situation in history inevitable. The life of Sitting Bull is considered to be one of the most significant and influential Native American lives in all of history. He was an amazing leader that was always looking out for the best interest of the Sioux tribe and Lakota nation.

    He also stood up for what he believed in, and he showed this by leading warriors countless times against the American army that was trying to force different opinions upon him and the Sioux. Sitting Bull was also very strong willed and because of this he often overcame the battles that he fought against America. Sitting Bull’s impact that he had upon the Native American culture was such a great one that it is still being felt to this day. I truly enjoyed the biography Sitting Bull and the Paradox of Lakota Nationhood because it told of a great leader of the Sioux tribe and Lakota nation by the name of Sitting Bull.

    He was often considered an “underdog”, but still found a way to overcome weaknesses that he and both the Sioux tribe and Lakota nation might have when facing large forces such as the U. S. The fact alone that he won many battles with a substantially fewer amounts of men when compared to the vast amount of men that were a part of the American armies showed how great of a leader he actually was. The only part of the book that I didn’t necessarily like was the Indian language and the many names that are mentioned are hard to fully comprehend at times.

    This, however, didn’t take away the incredible life that Sitting Bull lived as well as the outstanding impact he left upon the world and especially in North America. I had previously heard about Sitting Bull in high school, but never before have I gone into such great detail. I’m honestly glad that I had the opportunity to learn about Sitting Bull and the influential man that he was as well as having the opportunity to learn about the Sioux tribe and Lakota nation that Sitting Bull prolifically led.

    Review over the Paradox of Sitting Bull. (2017, Mar 07). Retrieved from

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