The history of the Native American Indians in the second half of the 19th century was greatly influenced by the contacts they had with American Whites. During this time America was enjoying relative peace punctuated by several civil wars against the federal governments especially in states where people felt that they were being oppressed or exploited by the federal government. The relative peace meant that various economic activities thrived. The general realization during this time land become of economic interest especially the vast lands that were occupied by the Native Americans some of which had precious metals (Crown 86). One of the most remarkable persons in the American Indian history was Sitting Bull. Sitting Bull was a religious Sioux Indian Chief who a series of revolts characterized by the use of guerrilla war tactics. Sitting bull was brave enough to refuse oppressive policies by the federal government, opted for peace when he felt it was necessary and managed to demonstrate to the federal governments of the war mastery of the Native American Tribes.

Guerrilla War Tactics

Delayed Occupancy of Powder River County. Tatanka- Tyotanka or famously known as Sitting Bull was a religious American Indian chief of the Native Indian tribe called Sioux was born in 1834 (Jeffrey 7). During the reign of Red Cloud over the Powder River Country, Sitting Bull managed to protect the are from small parties of American solders. The small surprise attacks by Sitting Bull and his party of Geurrillas managed to delay the occupany of the Powder River County by the federal government. Even after the Indian chiefs during this time entered into treaties with the federal governemt Sitting Bull continued with his attacks because he was oppossed to the treaties. The building of the Nothern Pacific ralilway could have meant that the interior of the Indian territory could have been made more accessible to the federal government. However, because of the constant attacks that even prompted the builders to seek protection form the military the construction of the railway was significantly delayed.

Frustrated Gold Mining in the Region.  Due to the dsicovery of gold reserves in most Indian occupoed areas, it was thought that the area known as Black Hills had gold reserves. Therefore, there were plans to relocate the Native Indians occupying this region so that gold mining could proceed. The strategy used by the federal government was to relocate Native Indians to settlements like the Sioux Settlement for the Sioux Indians. However, the Sioux Indians influenced by the attacks conducted by Sitting Bull refused to move to the settlements and this prompted the federal government to declare as illegal the small geurrilla group led by Sitting Bull. The declaration gave the military the authority to go after Sitting Bull wth the aim of arresting him.

Influenced Rebellion of other Tribes. Before becoming a chief Sitting Bull and his band of Geurrilas were always living in isolation in the plains to hide from the White American solders. Other tribes such as the Ogala and Arc soon joined the revolt having been greaty inspired by the resilience and brevity of Sitting Bull and his Geurrillas. Sitting Bull acted a leader of the Native Indians who had refused to live within the reserves after the American government declared war against all those who were outside the reserves. Most Native Indians outside the reserves therefore sought for protection and leadership from Sitting Bull (Greene 86).


Initially, Sitting Bull was known as a peace maker and historians write that he only became warlike as a need to protect the land and interests if his people.

Battle at Bighorn. After successfully staging war against the Americans at the Battle of Bighorn, the government organized a military onslaught against the Native Americans outside the reservations which led to the surrender of many. However, Sitting Bull refused to surrender and opted to run away to Canada (Yenne 126).

Eventual Surrender. However, the cold conditions in Canada where Sitting Bull and his followers had ran to was very cold and getting food and supplies was very difficult. Out of concern for his people, Sitting Bull decided to surrender to the American government (LaPointe 156). Sitting Bull was kept in seclusion for sometime due to concerns that he had the capacity to influence other Native Americans to stage a revolt.

Appreciation of American Indians

The revolts conducted by Sitting Bull have been appreciated not only by the Native American tribes but also the American government and historians. The American military managed to appreciate the war tactics used by Sitting Bull and his band of guerillas that was significant in slowing down the advancement of American developers in the region. Although the defeat of the American troops at Battle of Bighorn gave Native Americans momentary victory, the victory was significant enough for the Native Americans because they had inferior skills and weapons as compared to their enemies. For most Natives Indians, Sitting Bull was a unifying factor for the Indians because he was able to organize the previously scattered and sometimes warring Indian tribes. The fact that the battle at Bighorn involved many Native Americans from different tribes demonstrated to the Indians that by cooperating, they were able to stage a significant opposition against the American government. Although Sitting Bull eventually surrendered, it is understandable and even appreciated because he did so for the sake of his people. Sitting Bull eventually died but he has always remained a hero in the American history most significantly Native American history.