Sitting Bull (c. 1831 – 15 December 1890) was a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man and war chief, notable for his role in the defeat of George Armstrong Custer and the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
- I have killed, robbed, and injured too many white men to believe in a good peace. They are medicine, and I would eventually die a lingering death. I had rather die on the field of battle.
- Recorded by Charles Larpenteur at Fort Union in 1867. Published in Utley, Robert M. The Lance and the Shield. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1993. p. 73.
- Look at me, see if I am poor, or my people either. The whites may get me at last, as you say, but I will have good times till then. You are fools to make yourselves slaves to a piece of fat bacon, some hard-tack, and a little sugar and coffee.
- Also told to Charles Larpenteur at Fort Union in 1867. Published in Utley, Robert M. The Lance and the Shield. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1993. p. 73.
- I hardly sustain myself beneath the weight of white men's blood that I have shed. The whites provoked the war; their injustices, their indignities to our families, the cruel, unheard of and wholly unprovoked massacre at Fort Lyon ... shook all the veins which bind and support me. I rose, tomahawk in hand, and I have done all the hurt to the whites that I could.
- I am nothing, neither a chief nor a soldier.
- This is a good day to die. Follow me!
- Rallying cry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn (25 June 1876), quoted in Campaigns of General Custer in the North-west by Judson Elliott Walker
- You come here to tell us lies, but we don't want to hear them. If we told you more, you would have paid no attention. That is all I have to say.
- As recorded by reporters covering a speech made by Sitting Bull to U.S. military officers at a conference between the military and the Sioux who had retreated to Canada. Published in Utley, Robert M. The Lance and the Shield. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1993. p. 196.
- I will remain what I am until I die, a hunter, and when there are no buffalo or other game I will send my children to hunt and live on prairie mice, for where an Indian is shut up in one place his body becomes weak.
- I am here by the will of the Great Spirit, and by his will I am chief.… I want to tell you that if the Great Spirit has chosen anyone to be the chief of this country, it is myself.
- Testimony to the Dawes Commission (22 August 1883)
- I know Great Spirit is looking down upon me from above, and will hear what I say...
- The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love.
- He put in your heart certain wishes and plans; in my heart, he put other different desires.
- In my early days, I was eager to learn and to do things, and therefore I learned quickly.
- Each man is good in the sight of the Great Spirit.
- It is not necessary for eagles to be crows.
- Now that we are poor, we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die, we die defending our rights.
- What white man can say I ever stole his land or a penny of his money? Yet they say that I am a thief.
- What white woman, however lonely, was ever captive or insulted by me? Yet they say I am a bad Indian.
- What white man has ever seen me drunk? Who has ever come to me hungry and left me unfed? Who has seen me beat my wives or abuse my children? What law have I broken?
- Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red? Because I am Sioux? Because I was born where my father lived? Because I would die for my people and my country?
- God made me an Indian.
- When I was a boy, the Sioux owned the world. The sun rose and set on their land; they sent ten thousand men to battle. Where are the warriors today? Who slew them? Where are our lands? Who owns them?
- You think I am a fool, but you are a greater fool than I am.
- If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man, he would have made me so in the first place.
- I was very sorry when I found out that your intentions were good and not what I supposed they were.
- If a man loses anything and goes back and looks carefully for it, he will find it.
- We did not give you our land; You stole it from us.