In 1831 an indian child was born, of the Sioux Nation and the Hunkpapa Tribe. His father, Sitting Bull, and mother, Her-holy-door, did not name him Sitting Bull, he was named Jumping Badger. He was never called Jumping Badger, he was called Slow because of his willful and deliberate ways.
When Slow was fourteen he insisted on going along with the adult warriors into battle. Usually the untrained youths were errand boys while learning about battle conditions. Slow, screaming a war cry, jumped into the battle when he saw a Crow splitting away from the main battle and knocked him from his horse, earning his first coup. Another warrior swarmed in for the kill and counted the second coup. This coup elevated Slow to the status of Warrior. His father performed the necessary rituals and renamed him Sitting Bull, taking the name Jumping Bull for himself..
When Slow was freed from the cradle board he was instructed in the warrior ways by his father and uncle, Four Horns. They spent hours each day sharpening his riding and shooting skills. Success in the two basic roles – war and hunting – depended on the ability to maneuver a speeding pony in tight circumstances and the swiftness and accuracy of launching arrows from a bow. Slow was reared to excel in both. By his tenth year, Slow had absorbed the traditions and customs of war and the hunt, but like the other kids he played the games they loved because they were fun and because they taught them how to win, which was important for a warrior. Slow was taught from earliest childhood about the four top indian qualities: bravery, fortitude, generosity, and wisdom. Bravery came first, and war honor were carefully judged. The warrior who most fearlessly risked his life earned the admiration of all the people and received the most cherished honors. First coup (striking an ene!
my with a coup stick) showed more daring than slaying. A warrior who had counted first coup, (or second or third) bragged about it. They had to have it witnessed, and was given an eagle feather to wear in his hair as a badge of honor. The best warriors only wore one or two feathers on a daily basis and wore their full bonnets (some warriors had bonnets with feathers clear down to their heels) for formal ceremonies.
Sitting Bull and Light Hair, his first wife, had one son who died at the age of four. He then adopted his sisters second son who was the same age. He had two daughters by his second wife, Snow-on-Her and one son by Red Woman. He was married to Snow-on-Her and Red Woman at the same time. The two women were very jealous of each other and fought all the time. Life was not pleasant in that tipi. Sitting Bull eventually threw Snow-on-Her out of the tipi. After Red Woman died, Sitting Bull allowed his sister to move in with him and adopted her older son. Still needing a wife Sitting Bull offered some of his best horses to Gray Eagle for his sister Four Robes. Four Robes wanted her sister, Seen-by-the-Nation and her two sons, to live with her. Sitting Bull agreed and also adopted these two boys. He also agreed to marry Seen-by-the-Nation. He again had two wives.
Sitting Bull and his wives lived in Tipis which were conical dwellings made of buffalo skins stretched over a framework of lodge poles. They stood with other tipis of the band near rivers or creeks. In cold weather a fire burned in the center of the tipi where cooking took place. In nice weather the fire was built outside. The women of the tipi were in charge of cooking, cleaning, and raising the children. She was in charge of the girls until they married and the boys until their voices changed. The women were not considered beneath the men. They each had jobs to do. In fact, the mother ran the tipi affairs, after all she owned the lodge and all the family belongings, not the husband.
Sitting Bull was a Wichaska Wakan, a holy man, he saw things in visions and in dreams and what he saw came true. He could predict the future. Sitting Bull understood the natural phenomena existed in every part of nature, of honoring them, fearing them, and appeasing them with elaborate ceremonies and individual rites and taboos.
Sitting Bulls horsemanship in battle was awesome. Bareback he could lunge to one side or another flattening himself, dodging arrows, and making the smallest target possible by gripping the horses mane with his hands and the trunk with his legs. He could even five a trade musket or pistol from this position.
Sitting Bull was named tribal chieftain in 1957 after being nominated by four close friends at a convention of warriors at a tribal gathering. In 1868 in a radical move to save the weakening leadership, Sitting Bulls uncle nominated him to be the supreme chieftainship of all the Lakota tribes.