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"Sitting Bull what if?" Topic

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358 hits since 8 Aug 2017
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Korvessa08 Aug 2017 11:39 a.m. PST

I was watching a video and had a question regarding Sitting Bull's Sun Dance Vision. Apparently as a result of his vision he instructed his people not to take anything from the soldiers – which the video stated meant no looting or mutilating.
Does anyone think things would have ended differently (short or long term) if his people had followed that advice?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2017 3:47 p.m. PST

Do you mean if they had confined themselves to merely killing the soldiers instead of looting and mutilating them?

Korvessa08 Aug 2017 4:15 p.m. PST


John Leahy08 Aug 2017 4:49 p.m. PST

The Indians were doomed regardless of what they did. But there was no way they were going to stop scavenging and mutilating the dead troopers.

Jakar Nilson08 Aug 2017 7:45 p.m. PST

The dates that the Battle of Little Big Horn occurred on (June 25-26 1876) had more to do with the reaction of the American populace than anything extra that the Sioux might have done. The news arrived as everyone in the East was celebrating the centennial of the United States, and I can think of nothing worse than giving bad news to an American while he's being patriotic.

Early morning writer09 Aug 2017 6:39 a.m. PST

Well, Jakar, that's an original argument in my experience. Have you sources to support this? Sounds reasonable, just never seen it put forward before.

And, I agree, there is no way they would forego scavenging the dead – that was a major "supply depot" for them, especially for rifles and ammunition.

Though, one must wonder, how much useful ammo would have been left where the cavalry was in a fight to its death (for the five of the twelve companies present at the battle).

Jakar Nilson09 Aug 2017 11:06 a.m. PST

Wikipedia isn't usually used as reference, but it's a good starting point:

But long before that, I can point to the article "Ghosts on the Little Bighorn", from vol. 170, issue 6 (December 1986) of National Geographic, page 796 as the earliest reference I can find.

It is alluded in chapter 14 of "The Life and Death of Crazy Horse" by Russel Freedman, Scholastic inc., 1996.

I was also looking through several Canadian books that cover Sitting Bull's stay in Canada following Little Bighorn and his interactions with the NWMP, but found nothing there.

Canadians weren't immune to knee-jerk reactions toward First Nations, as shown by this map of the Northwest Rebellion with scenes that focus mainly on the tribes, despite them being minor players whose leaders were against the rebellion, unlike the Métis under Louis Riel.


John Leahy09 Aug 2017 4:47 p.m. PST

Being announced before the 4th of July did add extra visibility to the defeat. But I think Custer being killed was much more important. He was the preeminent Indian fighter and Civil War hero. If Benteen would have been in command the story would have been focused on how Custer and the army would reap the nation's revenge on the Indians.

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