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DescriptionSTANDING ROCK HERITAGE II The Standing Rock Reservation was to become the home of a widely publicized Indian, Sitting Bull, who had lived in Canada following the Battle of the Little Big Horn where he defeated Gen. Custer. Sitting Bull abandoned his freezing sanctuary in Canada to return at the U.S. in 1881. The Fort Buford commander received him courteously, but told him his orders were to take him as a military prisoner to Fort Yates, on the Standing Rock Reservation. Sitting Bull bristled, and then softened. "I do not come in anger toward the white soldiers. I am seeking. I will fight no more. I do not love war. I never was the aggressor. I fought only to defend my women and children. Now all my people want to return to their native land." Instead of sending him to the Hunkapapa agency at Standing Rock, the Army broke its promise to give him a pardon and held him at Fort Randall as a military prisoner. Mr. Harry Fast Horse, a Standing Rock native and councilman, explains the results the uprising had on the reservation when the soldiers brought back the ones who had opposed the government. "They brought these people that fled to Canada -...Sitting Bull...Gall...Rain-in-the-Face.... to Ft. Yates....a big camp to take arms...burned all the teepees." According to Dee Brown's research in, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, after the Battle of the Little Big Horn, when the white men in the East heard of the Long Hair's defeat, they called it a massacre and went crazy with anger. They wanted to punish all the Indians in the West. On July 22 the Great Warrior, Sherman, received the authority to assume military control of all reservations in the Sioux country and to treat the Indians there as prisoners of war." The atmosphere was still troubled when Sitting Bull returned from prison as described by Leo Cadotte a past tribal council judge. "Then they took him down to Grand River....Ghost't officials got their pulse up." The rumors of the Ghost Dance Religion had spread among many government officials. From the book, I Have Spoken, compiled by Virginia Irving Armstrong; we learn that Wovoka, son of an earlier Paiute Messiah, was instrumental in establishing the Ghost Dance religion. It spread like wildfire among the Plains Indians and was viewed by them as a last protection against the white man's invasion of their beloved lands. Fear of the Ghost Dance and an uprising at the Standing Rock reservation led to agency action which finally resulted in Sitting Bull's death. "The Superintendent McLaughlin...he didn't much is exploited... that was the way it ends up, see….Out of that scrimmage...burial...properly... homage and respect." Those acts were in keeping with the initial government purpose at Standing Rock "The objective...keep eye on chiefs...concentration...what happened." With agency reorganization and diminished reservation lands new names were given to the reservation areas. "As they diminished reservation....changed names....Rock Creek.... changed to Bullhead by Indians Police....Little Eagle.... Elk Horn Butte...Waupaca...Eagle Catch Butte...Kennel Catholic Indian Mission priest named...derived its name...Three Buttes." Other changes occurred on the reservations at the same time the names were being changed. Roland Ross, a Sioux Indian student, comments on that period. "A lot of the older people. Confused....turn to Christianity." An observation of the coming of Christianity reveals a dual approach of the missionaries, a Bible in one hand and a rifle in the other, an approach which seemed ironic to the Indian people. "Christianity would say that they never did understand Christianity....crucifixes....hunt them down....Christianity was a joke." Fear, an element foreign to the Indian religion was introduced by the missionaries. Two students comment on the results of being taught to fear God and eternal damnation. "Another reason why religion caught frightens them...eternity in hell." The Indian people found other confusing aspects of the missionaries' religion. Worship once a week was a disturbing practice for the Indian people who were taught to worship the Great Spirit or God every day in the surroundings furnished by the Great Spirit. As Ralph Walker explains, "The whole Indian culture is based on religion. It's based on respect for anything living: rocks, earth, trees, leaves, birds. The idea is being part of nature instead of being superior to it, instead of going out putting concrete over the ground, building houses, and highways. Every living thing has a place; humans don't have priority over animals. They all have another world to go to." The translation of the Bible to an Indian dialect was accomplished by Dr. Riggs. "Dr. Riggs from Ft. Pierre... first to write Bible in Indian... dialect...Santee." Not all missionaries continued the use of the Indian's language. According to The Word Carrier, a missionary publication, August, 1887, "Until 1887, instruction in the schools conducted by missionary organizations was given in the Indian language; in 1887 the government issued an order that all instruction must be given in the English language." The result of this government directive is explained by Dorothy Cadotte Lenz, an educator and native of Standing Rock. "I've heard from my parents....punished... this brought about quite a change." However, when a non-Indian person took the time to learn the Indian language, they were greatly appreciated. "I can remember when I was little...Mr. Basel...They could communicate...without any problem." The structured schools of the non-Indian were very strange to the Indian people. Mr. Cadotte describes the traditional method of instruction. "Best babysitter in the world....grandmother... Why formation worked." "It seems as though most of our children.... for survival....always carried boarding schools." The name of the reservation was derived from a legend passed on through generations. Earl Bullhead, of the Bullhead District at Standing Rock relates one version of the story. "Many years ago....camped along took…second moved...first wouldn't.... Went back go get her...stone...Lakota carried her with them...which is now part of the Oahe Reservoir." As in the past, the Indian celebrations of today play an important role in the life the Sioux Indian people of Standing Rock. "The dancing....celebration....dances...naming... sing & playing drum...whistle...other types of things." "Each clan....singer....lament...used music.... singing and playing the drum." "In each dancing group...whistle...way-they do it in the Sioux nation." In the Sioux Nation, many types of dances have been passed on even to this day "There's the different types....Round...Rabbit...49.... Owl the early days." One of the most special dances handed down is the Eagle Dance. "I'll try to explain…Eagle Dance...handed down.... carry it on." Another type of song used by the Sioux people is the flag song. "The words in the Sioux Flag song....In English.... Sioux singing." Chaske Wicks relates the meaning of an old custom of "give away" at a celebration or pow-wow. "We have an old custom....give-away....donate... or whatever it may be, you see." "The main reason for the celebration...that's the way the Sioux nation does it." Throughout the contacts of the Sioux Nation with Non-Indians, many attempts have been made to change the Indian people's life to be like the non-Indian. As early as 1876 Sitting Bull explained to a trader at Wolf Point that there really was no need to change Indians to be Whites. He stated, "If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. He put in your heart certain wishes and plans, in my heart he put other and different desires. Each man is good in his sight. It is not necessary for eagles to be Crows."
Ordering InformationConsult:
Date of Original1973?
General SubjectIndians of North America
Subject (LCTGM)Indian reservations
Subject (LCSH)Indians of North America
Indians of North America - Spiritual life
Indians of North America - Social life
Organization NameUnited States. Bureau of Indian Affairs
LocationNorth Dakota
United States
Item NumberUA Mss. 10. program 8
Format of OriginalTranscripts
NotesScript from the "For Eagles to be Crows" Collection, no audio file available.
Biography/HistoryProgram part of the "For Eagles to be Crows" radio series by KDSU broadcast in 1973.
Publisher of OriginalKDSU Radio (Radio station : Fargo, N.D.)
Place of PublicationFargo (N.D.)
Repository InstitutionNorth Dakota State University Libraries, University Archives
Repository CollectionFor Eagles to be Crows Collection UA Mss 10
Collection Finding AidConsult:
Credit LineNDSU Archives
Rights ManagementCopyrights to this collection remain with the University Archives.
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