Thursday, December 14, 2023



In the 1880s Sitting Bull joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. He traveled all over the country and saw many things, but wearied of the white man’s ways. He went back to the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota to be with his Hunkpapa people. Before he left the Wild West Show, Buffalo Bill gifted him with his favorite show horse which could do many tricks.

After returning to the Reservation, Sitting Bull became the center of the Ghost Dance movement, which the white men thought was the signal for a great uprising. The Ghost Dance Movement was really a religion of despair. It gave hope to people who had been deprived of their land, their food sources, and their connection to their own ancestry.

 On a winter day in 1890 43 Indian police were sent to arrest Sitting Bull for his involvement in the Ghost Dance Movement. When they dragged him out of his teepee a commotion began, and when it was over 15 people lay dead or dying, among them Sitting Bull.

When Sitting Bull’s dancing horse heard the battle, it thought it was back in the circus at the Wild West Show. It began dancing and prancing and raising up on its back legs, bowing and curtsying and doing all of the tricks it had been taught. All who witnessed this thought that the horse was possessed because it danced through a hail of bullets and was never hit. The horse still danced for a while after the massacre ended and until the scene was silent. It had honored its master in the only way it knew.

 36"x24" Acrylic on Yupo

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