“I would rather die an Indian than live a white man”

December 15th 1890: Sitting Bull killed

On this day in 1890, the Native American Lakota Sioux chief, Sitting Bull, was killed at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Formal peaceful relations between the Sioux and the United States government began in 1868 upon the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty. However, the discovery of gold in the Black Hills – which were in Sioux territory – in the 1870s led to a torrent of white prospectors invading the Sioux lands. The numerous Sioux tribes united under Sitting Bull’s leadership, and initially secured some major military victories over American forces. The most famous battle of the Great Sioux War of 1876 was the Battle of Little Bighorn, where Sioux and Cheyenne warriors defeated the famed General Custer. Sitting Bull then led his people to Canada, only to come back to America in 1881. It was around this time that he joined Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, but he soon returned to his people to protect the rights of indigenous Americans. Sitting Bull was killed on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in 1890 by U.S. troops, who were trying to arrest him under fears he would join the Ghost Dance movement.

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