Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Sitting Bull, aka Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake, born Hoka Psice NULL

Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux Chief and Holy Man who had premonition of defeating the cavalry which motivated his people to a major victory at the Battle of the Little Bighorn

"What treaty that the white man ever made with us have they kept? Not one. 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? What white man can say I ever stole his land or a penny of his money? Yet they say 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 come to me hungry and unfed? Who has ever 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 a Sioux; because I was born where my father lived; because I would die for my people and my country?"

"It is not necessary for eagles to be crows."

"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children."

"Behold, the Spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love! Every seed is awakened and so has all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being, and we therefore yield to our neighbors, even our animal neighbors, the same right as ourselves, to inhabit this land. Yet, hear me, people, we have now to deal with another race ? small and feeble when our fathers first met them but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule. They claim this mother of ours, the earth, for their own and fence their neighbors away; they deface her with their buildings and their refuse. The nation is like a spring freshet that overruns its banks and destroys all that are in its path. We cannot dwell side by side. Only seven years ago we made a treaty by which we were assured that the buffalo country should be left to us forever. Now they threaten to take that away from us. My brothers, shall we submit or shall we say to them: 'First kill me before you take possession of my land"

"All the Indians pray to God for life, and try to find a good road, and do nothing wrong in their life. This is what we want, to pray to God. But you did not believe us. You should say nothing against our religion, for we said nothing against yours. You pray to God, so do all of us Indians. You think I am a fool, and you gather up some of the wise men among my people on your side, and you let the white people back East know what you think. I know that, but I do not object; I over look that, because I am foolish enough to pray to God. Therefore, you don?t like me, because you think I am a fool, and you imagine that, if I were not here, all the Indians would become civilized, and that, because I am here, all the Indians are fools. When you were here in my camp, you gave me good words about my prayers, but today you take it all back again. And there is something else I want you to know. I am obliged to go to Pine Ridge Agency and investigate this Ghost Dance religion. The policeman told me you intend to take all our ponies, and guns, too. So I wish you would let me know about that. Please answer soon. Sitting Bull"

"God made me an Indian."

"Each man is good in His sight. It is not necessary for eagles to be crows."

"Each man is good in the sight of the Great Spirit."

"Come, let us put our minds together to see what kind of lives we can create for our children."

"I am a lonely wolf, wandering pretty nearly all over the world. He, he, he! What is the matter? I am having a hard time, Friend. This that I tell you, you will have to do also. Whatever I want, I always get it. Your name will be big, as mine is big. Hau! Hau!"

"I am a red man. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place."

"Every seed is awakened, and all animal life."

"He put in your heart certain wishes and plans; in my heart, he put other different desires."

"I am here by the will of the Great Spirit, and by his will I am chief. I know Great Spirit is looking down upon me from above, and will hear what I say... I want to tell you that if the Great Spirit has chosen anyone to be the chief of this country, it is myself."

"I am innocent. My people at the Agencies are being abused. Many Sioux, mainly women and little children, have been killed by soldiers, for no reason other than these soldiers enjoy killing and torture. All my wild animals have run away at the smell of too much blood. I only wished for peace and a chance to trade, The Sioux had never sold their country, nor taken annuities in payment; the Americans stole my country, and the gold in the Black Hills. We asked the Americans to give us traders, instead they give us death. All of them robbed, cheated, and laughed at us. They never tell the truth. They said they did not wish to fight, yet why did they come into my country shooting at me? Everything bad began with them. I have never heard a good word of them. If they liked me, why did they drive me away?"

"I am nothing, neither a chief nor a soldier."

"I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love."

"I do not wish to be shut up in a corral. All agency Indians I have seen are worthless. They are neither red warriors nor white farmers. They are neither wolf nor dog."

"I want to tell you that if the Great Spirit had chosen anyone to be the chief of this country, it is myself."

"I was very sorry when I found out that your intentions were good and not what I supposed they were."

"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 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 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."

"I wish all to know that I do not propose to sell any part of my country, nor will I have the whites cutting our timber along the rivers, more especially the oak. I am particularly fond of the little groves of oak trees. I love to look at them, and feel a reverence for them, because they endure the wintry storms and summer?s heat, and?not unlike ourselves?seem to thrive and flourish by them. One thing more: those forts filled with white soldiers must be abandoned; there is no greater source of trouble and grievance to my people."

"If I agree to dispose of any part of our land to the white people I would feel guilty of taking food away from our children's mouths, and I do not wish to be that mean."

"I wish it to be remembered that I was the last man of my tribe to surrender my rifle."

"If a man loses anything and goes back and looks carefully for it, he will find it."

"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, and in my heart he put other different desires. Each man is good in his sight. It is not necessary for eagles to be crows."

"If we must die, we die defending our rights."

"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."

"Inside of me there are two dogs. One is mean and evil and the other is good and they fight each other all the time. When asked which one wins I answer, the one I feed the most."

"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."

"It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being, and we therefore yield to our neighbors, even to our animal neighbors, the same right as ourselves to inhabit this vast land."

"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."

"My Father has given me this nation, in protecting them I have a hard time."

"It does not take many words to tell the truth."

"Only seven years ago we made a treaty by which we were assured that the buffalo country should be left to us forever. Now they threaten to take that from us also."

"Now that we are poor, we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die, we die defending our rights."

"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."

"The life of white men is slavery. They are prisoners in towns or farms. The life my people want is a life of freedom. I have seen nothing that a white man has, houses or railways or clothing or food, that is as good as the right to move in the open country, and live in our own fashion."

"The white man knows how to make everything, but he does not know how to distribute it."

"Strangely enough, they have a mind to till the soil, and the love of possessions is a disease in them."

"There are things they tell us that sound good to hear, but when they have accomplished their purpose they will go home and will not try to fulfill our agreements with them."

"Therefore, I do not wish to consider any proposition to cede any portion of our tribal holdings to the Great Father."

"These dead soldiers are the gifts of Wanka Tanka. Kill them, but do not take their guns or horses. Do not touch the spoils. If you set your hearts upon the goods of the white man, it will prove to be the downfall of this nation."

"They claim this mother of ours, the earth, for their own and fence their neighbors away; they deface her with their buildings and their refuse. That nation is like a spring freshet that overruns its banks and destroys all who are in its path. We cannot dwell side by side."

"This is a good day to die. Follow me!"

"They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own use, and fence their neighbors away from her, and deface her with their buildings and their refuse."

"They want us to give up another chunk of our tribal land. This is not the first time or the last time."

"This nation is like a spring freshet; it overruns its banks and destroys all who are in its path."