Sitting Bull Analysis

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Robert M. Utley stated that "The world remembers Sitting Bull not for what he achieved in his own culture but for his battle against the westward movement of American people… He lost not because of failings of leadership, or given his cultural outlook, failings of judgment, but because of impersonal forces beyond his control or even understanding." In other words, the failure of Sitting Bull was inevitable due to external forces, and his failure is not solely a reflection of his actions.

According to the text, Sitting Bull was a strong leader and embodied many admired traits of the Lakota Sioux. Utley says that Sitting bull was "… the admired epitome of the four cardinal virtues of the Lakotas: bravery, fortitude, generosity and wisdom" (34). Sitting Bull was also said to have three different personalities, all which contained traits of leadership in different ways. First, he was known to be an excellent hunter and warrior. Utley explained that Sitting Bull was "laden with honors" and "deliberated and rewarded with high rank by his people" (35). In addition to that, Sitting Bull was known as "The Holy Man, suffused with reverence and mysticism" (35). In combination with both of those personalities, he was also regarded as a "good tribesman, a man of kindness, generosity, and humility… wise counselor, and leader" This shows that he was a strong leader within his culture and was seen as successful within this respect.

Forces beyond Sitting Bull's control or understanding led to his ultimate defeat. One factor outside of Sitting Bull's control or knowledge was the impact on his people due to starvation. This is because the Americans hunted the buffalo which was a primary food source. Sickness and disease also decimated the Native American tribes. They had no immunity to the diseases that the white men brought and many of them died, further reducing their numbers. In addition, the Americans were committed to driving the Natives onto...
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