Sitting Bull Lakota
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Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake Lakota (1831 - 1890)

Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake (Sitting Bull) Lakota
Born in Dakota Territorymap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Standing Rock, Sioux Reservationmap
Profile last modified | Created 3 Sep 2014 | Last significant change: 30 Nov 2021
06:26: Elizabeth (McKibbon) Godon answered a question about Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake Lakota (1831-1890) [Thank Elizabeth for this]
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Sitting Bull was Lakota.
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The Lakota Chief known to history as “Sitting Bull” is best known for leading the Lakota and Cheyenne who defeated the 7th Cavalry under General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Greasy Grass/Little Big Horn in June, 1876. [1]

"Sitting Bull" was born about 1831 in Lakota territory, near what is now Bull, South Dakota. He was the only son of Jumping Bull, also known as "Returns Again" and Her Holy Door. There are several versions of the source of his name. According to biographer Stanley Vestal, Sitting Bull's father received a message from the Buffalo God with four names, including Jumping Bull and Sitting Bull. He chose Jumping Bull for himself and followed Lakota tradition of naming male children with one of their father's names, so the son first known as “Hoka Psice” became Tȟatȟaŋka Iyotȟaŋka, loosely translated as "Sitting Bull." [2]

Sitting Bull was a leader of the Heart warrior society as a young man. He first went to battle at the age of 14 against the Crow. As an adult he became a member of the Silent Eaters, a group concerned with tribal welfare. He fought in many battles including the Battle of Killdeer Mountain. In 1865 he led a siege against the newly established Fort Rice in Dakota Territory. Widely respected for his bravery and insight, he became head chief of the Lakota nation about 1868. [3] The Fort Laramie Treaty set aside most of western South Dakota for the Lakota but many chiefs, including Sitting Bull, opposed the treaty and did not sign it. In 1874 gold was discovered in the Black Hills, and white gold seekers and settlers ignored the the treaty causing hostilities to rise.

In 1875 Sitting Bull travelled to Washington along with Swift Bear of the Arapaho, Spotted Tail of the Brule and Red Cloud of the Oglala to meet with President Ulysses S. Grant to discuss the Black Hills situation. They were accompanied by interpreter Julius Meyer (1839-1909). A photo of the group was taken by Frank F. Currier in Omaha, Nebraska on May 13, 1875. The United States government tried to purchase the Black Hills from the Lakota, but was unsuccessful, and the Lakota were ordered to confine themselves to a reservation (that did not include the Black Hills) by January of 1876. General Custer was sent to enforce the edict, which led to the battle and his defeat.

Although Sitting Bull and his allies were initially successful, Custer’s defeat led to even more troops being sent and within a year the Lakota and others were confined to reservations and the United States had taken the Black Hills without compensating the tribes. Sitting Bull and many of his followers escaped into Canada following the United States takeover. He remained there until 1881 when he and the rest of his followers returned to the United States and settled near the Standing Rock agency. He joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show briefly in 1885, but soon returned to the reservation. When the United States continued to restrict the Lakota and sell land that had been promised to the tribe, Sitting Bull became associated with the Ghost Dance movement which predicted a resurgence of the Indians. Indian Agent James McLaughlin ordered the arrest of Sitting Bull and others on December 15, 1890. Sitting Bull was shot and killed when he resisted and his young son Crowfoot was also killed. Sitting Bull’s body was taken to Fort Yates and buried there, but in 1953 his descendants removed his remains to a new burial site near Mobridge, South Dakota. [4] [5]


Sitting Bull had at least five and perhaps as many as nine wives. According to biographer Vestal, the first of Sitting Bull's nine wives was named Wíŋyaŋ Lúta (Scarlet Woman). She and their son died in 1857.

HIs next wife was Žiží(Light Hair) with whom he had an unnamed child who died young.

He took a plural wife, Snow on Her whom he married in 1861. They divorced in 1869. They had the following children:

  1. Tȟašúŋke Óta Wiŋ/(Many Horses)
  2. Walks Looking (Seen Walking)//Wauyaywaw


He married fourth Wíŋyaŋ Šá(Red Woman) in 1871. She died about 1886. They had the following children:

  1. Unnamed son died at birth

The mother of the following son is uncertain, possibly Red Woman.

  1. Máza Kiŋ Wičúkhi(Takes the Gun)

After the death of Red Woman Sitting Bull married two widowed sisters, Oyáte Waŋyáŋkapi(Seen by Her Nation) and Tašinátópiwiŋ(Four Robes).

The 1885 Standing Rock census lists Sitting Bull, two wives, Seen by Her Nation and Four Blankets (Four Robes), and six children,

  1. Seen Walking (daughter age 17),
  2. Akíčhita Čík'ala(Little Soldier) (son of Four Robes by first husband), age 17),

two children of Seen by Her Nation,

  1. Kȟaŋǧí Sihá(Crowfoot) (son, age 10),
  2. Wakȟáŋ Nažiŋ(Standing Holy) (daughter, age 7),

and two children by Four Robes,

  1. Thí Tȟaŋíŋyaŋ Wiŋ(Lodge in Sight) (daughter, age 10)
  2. Run Away From/Minyannapapi (son, age 7).

Next on the 1885 census are daughter Many Horses and her husband, Thomas Fly, followed by Tȟatȟáŋka Waŋžíla(One Bull) and his family [6]

The 1886 and 1888 censuses list additional children,

  1. (Left) Arrows in Hair/Tanweyaluta (son, age 8)
  2. Sitting Bull, Jr. (son, infant);
  3. an unnamed infant girl,

all believed to be children of Four Robes. [7]

This list combines information from the family tree included in the biography "Sitting Bull: HIs Life and Legacy, [8] Vestal's biography, and the 1885-1890 Lakota censuses taken at the Standing Rock Agency (see images attached).

The 1890 census at the Standing Rock Agency listed Sitting Bull, his wives Seen by the Nation and Four Robes, and children Crowfoot, Ceury, Little Soldier, Standing Holy, Lodge (in Sight), Red Scout (Arrows in Hair), Theodore (Run Away), and grandson Chase Near (son of Seen Walking and Andrew Fox). Next on the census were One Bull, his wife and two children. [9] Sitting Bull adopted his nephew "One Bull" when the boy was about 3 years of age. Per the Lakota, the adoption ceremony resulted in One Bull having the same status as a blood-child.[10]

Research Notes

A recent news release stated that DNA analysis of autosomal DNA has positively identified a living great-grandson (descendant of Sitting Bull and his wife Seen by Her Nation). "The novel technique centered on what is known as autosomal DNA in the genetic fragments extracted from the hair. Traditional analysis involves specific DNA in the Y chromosome passed down the male line or specific DNA in the mitochondria - powerhouses of a cell - passed down from mothers to children. Autosomal DNA instead is not gender specific.

"There existed methods, but they demanded for substantial amounts of DNA or did only allow to go to the level of grandchildren," Willerslev said. "With our new method, it is possible to establish deeper-time family relationships using tiny amounts of DNA." [11]


  1. Story of the Battle - Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) (
  2. 2.0 2.1 Vestal, Stanley. Sitting Bull: Champion of the Sioux. University of Oklahoma Press. Norman, Oklahoma. 1957. pp. 16-17, 258 digitized at Google Books, Sitting Bull Champion of the Sioux
  3. Sitting Bull
  4. Find a Grave, database and images (accessed 19 November 2020), memorial page for Sitting Bull (1831–15 Dec 1890), Find A Grave: Memorial #95102167, citing Sitting Bull Burial Site, Fort Yates, Sioux County, North Dakota, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave. This is the original burial site]
  5. Find a Grave, database and images (accessed 19 November 2020), memorial page for Sitting Bull (1831–15 Dec 1890), Find A Grave: Memorial #955, citing Sitting Bull Monument, Corson County, South Dakota, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
  6. 1885 census, Standing Rock Agency; Roll: M595_547; Line: 15; digitized at 1885
  7. Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, 692 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C. Agency: Standing Rock; Years: 1885-1890
  8. LaPointe, Ernie. Sitting Bull: His Life and Legacy. Gibbs Smith, Layton, Utah. 2011.
  9. U.S. Indian Census rolls, Year: 1890; Roll: M595_548; Line: 1; Agency: Standing Rock. Digitized at, image attached to profile.
  10. Kincaid, Sara, "Smithsonian Traces Sitting Bull's Descendants," in Indian Country News, (undated, but appears to be from 2019).
  11. News release

See also:

  • Space:Native Americans: Lakota
  • Adams, Alexander B. Sitting Bull: An Epic of the Plains. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1973.
  • Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970.
  • Lives of Famous Indian Chiefs, by Norman B. Wood
  • Find a Grave, database and images (accessed 19 November 2020), memorial page for Sitting Bull (1831–15 Dec 1890), Find A Grave: Memorial #95102167, citing Sitting Bull Burial Site, Fort Yates, Sioux County, North Dakota, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave . [This is the original burial site]
  • Find a Grave, database and images (accessed 19 November 2020), memorial page for Sitting Bull (1831–15 Dec 1890), Find A Grave: Memorial #955, citing Sitting Bull Monument, Corson County, South Dakota, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .

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Comments: 23

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Hello Profile Managers!

We are featuring this profile in the Connection Finder this week. Between now and Wednesday is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards. We know it's short notice, so don't fret too much. Just do what you can.



posted by Abby (Brown) Glann
hair was authenticated with DNA to his living great-grandson via Sitting Bull's daughter: here is the article
posted by Danielle Sullivan
Most of the wives and children now have correct Lakota renderings of their names. There are still some that are needed, waiting for expert to weigh in.
posted by Kathie (Parks) Forbes
Please connect LaPointe-1717 to Sitting Bull as his son. I have noted the newspaper article with dna test results, Y-chromosome passed by direct male to male only, and the genealogy going forward to Ernie LaPointe Who is LIVING, therefor I created a profile for his deceased father and going back to connect with Sitting Bull.

Best regards, Lilly Martin

posted by Lilly Martin
The great-grandson named in the article is descended from Sitting Bull through his daughter, Standing Holy, and her daughter Angelique Little Spotted Horse. The DNA connection was made through autosomal DNA since Ernie is not a direct male descendent.
posted by Kathie (Parks) Forbes
edited by Kathie (Parks) Forbes
Thank you Kathie so much for the reply and information. I have now connected Claude LaPoint to his wife (Spotted_Horse-1) and then she is connected back to Sitting Bull. Now, anyone looking for the LaPointe connection can see it.

Thank you for your time and expertise. Best regards, Lilly Martin

posted by Lilly Martin
Bull-4580 and Lakota-21 appear to represent the same person because: Bull-4580 appears to be the same man as Lakota-21. He had no surname at birth so tribe name is used.
posted by Kathie (Parks) Forbes
New article claims DNA extracted from hair of Sitting Bull confirms a living great grandson Ernie LaPoint of South Dakota:
posted on Bull-4580 (merged) by Teri (Osborn) Taylor
edited by Teri (Osborn) Taylor
Numerous newspaper articles from the 1953/54 say that Sarah Spotted Horse, Angeline Spotted Horse [LaPointe], and Nancy Kicking Bear were/or claimed to be Sitting Bull's only living descendants. Their mother was Standing Holy. Bismarck Tribune, March 23 1953
posted by Kathie (Parks) Forbes
There are censuses from 1885-90 digitized on Ancestry. It's hard to match the census lists with the children named in the biography. The lists vary slightly from year to year and the translations of the Lakota names vary slightly :

1885: Sitiing Bull, Seen by the Nation, Four Robes, See Walking (?), Little Soldier, Crows Feet, Standing Holy, Lodge in Sight, Run Away From 1886: Sitting Buill, Seen by the Nation, Four Robes, Crows Feet, Standing Holy, Lodge in Sight, Run Away From 1887: Sitting Bull, Seen by the Nation, Four Robes, Little Soldier, Crows Foot, Lodge in Sight, Standing Holy, Run Away From, Left [something] Him, Sitting Bull, Jr 1888: Sitting Bull, Seen by the Nation, Four Robes, Little Soldier, Crow Foot, Standing Holy, Run Away From, Left [something] Him, Sitting Bull Jr. , unnamed girl 1890: Sitting Bull, See by the Nation, Four Robes, Crowfoot, Ceury{?}, Little Soldier, Standing Holy, Lodge, Red Scout, Theodore

posted by Kathie (Parks) Forbes
The website cited for his wives and children ( is now defunct. Seeking better sources to support the identification of his family.
posted by Jillaine Smith
I restored the website link. Found the site archived on Wayback.
posted by Aaron Gullison
edited by Aaron Gullison
Thanks for finding it, Aaron. Unfortunately, it's an unsourced descendant list. We still need to find better sources for the identification of his family members.

Also, it's not necessary to repeat the footnote number the way you have. I'll fix that.

posted by Jillaine Smith
That's the way it was before. I just put it back. Also, doing it that way makes it easier to add other cites. Just take out "/" and the cite name and add the rest of the new cite, ending with "</ref>".
posted by Aaron Gullison
edited by Aaron Gullison
Parents, spouse(s), and children should all have LNAB of Lakota.
posted by Kathie (Parks) Forbes
We need to confirm the tribe names of his various wives and correct their name fields.
posted by Jillaine Smith
I have found that he had a son named Walter Craft . What do you think
posted on Bull-1259 (merged) by Mary (Gulish) Gi
edited by Mary (Gulish) Gi
Sitting Bull's grave at Fort Yates, North Dakota ca. 1906

... image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3c04929.

posted on Bull-1259 (merged) by Carole Taylor
May we add the cemetery where he is now at rest? [1] there are photos of both graves.

"Sitting Bull's body was taken to Fort Yates, where it was placed in a coffin (made by the Army carpenter)[57] and buried. A monument was installed to mark his burial site after his remains were reportedly taken to South Dakota.

In 1953 Lakota family members exhumed what they believed to be Sitting Bull's remains, transporting them for reinterment near Mobridge, South Dakota, his birthplace.[58][59] A monument to him was erected there. also add as a source. Thank you for the beautiful profile.

posted on Bull-1259 (merged) by Carole Taylor

This includes the repatriations -the returning of Locks of Sitting Bulls Hair and his Leggings to the only known living descendants in 2007 by the Smithsonian.

posted on Bull-1259 (merged) by Arora (G) Anonymous
more info can be found here[1]
posted on Bull-1259 (merged) by Irene (Hewson) Marquez
Proper entry of name will be accomplished upon acceptance to trusted list

Last name at birth was Psice

posted on Bull-1259 (merged) by Paula J

Rejected matches › Hoka (Unknown) Purdy (abt.1830-)

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