Standing Bear's Story of the Battle, #4
STANDING BEAR TELLS ABOUT THE SUN DANCE ON THE ROSEBUD, JUNE 1876
WE BROKE camp and went up the Rosebud for the sun dance. We camped so that the Rosebud flowed through the center of the great oval camp. We selected a place in the center of the oval for the sun dance. (This was about the middle of the Moon of Fatness.) Next morning early the announcer [camp crier, eyapaha] cried out saying: "Brave men, be ready, for your time has come. It is your time to do your duty now to send voices up to the Great Spirit. The religion we have now at will [sic] and we shall go forth and pray and repent."
The chief Sitting Bull was the leader of the sun dance. From every band some came to dance. There were very many dancing here. Most of the Sioux nation was there except ones around the agency and forts. They danced two days. The chiefs sent out scouts all over guarding the sacred place so that we should not be disturbed. We were ready if anything should come up.
We boys chewed up elm leaves and threw them at each other here. Then we got out in pairs and collected some spear grass and had three or four in a bunch. When we would pass by a man with no shirt on we would stick him with them. The next endurance test we had there was using pop guns; we'd take ash boughs and make pop guns out of them. We'd pop these guns on the women's faces and on the men. It was like a Fourth of July celebration. Some women had babies (holy little ones) and they had water bags to carry water with for the little ones. We made some short bows and arrows and hid them and if we saw a bladder bag, we would shoot this arrow into them and the water would run out. The next thing boys would do was to wound dogs with the arrows. We had a good time here and many men took lots of endurance.
When the sun dance was over there was a rumor that the white men were coming from the south. We sent out scouts and after they went out, the announcer announced for us to break camp. From Rosebud we went south toward Greasy Grass Creek. The next day we moved slowly toward the Little Big Horn. We camped at the head of Spring Creek which flows into the Big Horn. The scouts reported that soldiers were coming, so the war party got ready and met the soldiers on the Rosebud. The announcer said: "The scouts have returned and they have reported that the soldiers are now camping on the Rosebud River, so young warriors, take courage and get ready to go meet them." At the same time before the announcer announced, there was a war party going out and I was going with them. I had an uncle who thought lots of me and he said, "Nephew, you must not go. Stay and look at the helpless; stay here and fight." So the warriors went on ahead.
The Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk's Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt, edited by Raymond J. DeMalle, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1985 p 173 - 174
Standing Bear was Iron Hail's brother.
Here is a 1910 account of the battle by Standing Bear, another 1910 account, and an undated account, plus Standing Bear's recollection of the great Sun Dance before the battle where Sitting Bull had a vision that the bluecoat soldiers fell from the sky and all died.
Although this account by Standing Bear does not deal with the Battle of the Lttle Bighorn dorectly, it helps set the scene from the perspective of Sioux and Cheyenne, just as the dispatches by Mark Kellogg and a "Prominent Officer Killed in Custer's Last Charge" set the scene from the American perspective.
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