Queer Places:
Sitting Bull Burial Site, Fort Yates, ND 58538, USA

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3f/Sitting_Bull_by_D_F_Barry_ca_1883_Dakota_Territory.jpgSitting Bull (c. 1831 – December 15, 1890)[3] was a Hunkpapa Lakota leader who led his people during years of resistance to United States government policies. He was killed by Indian agency police on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation during an attempt to arrest him, at a time when authorities feared that he would join the Ghost Dance movement.[4]

BBefore the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull had a vision in which he saw many soldiers, "as thick as grasshoppers," falling upside down into the Lakota camp, which his people took as a foreshadowing of a major victory in which a large number of soldiers would be killed.[5] About three weeks later, the confederated Lakota tribes with the Northern Cheyenne defeated the 7th Cavalry under Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer on June 25, 1876, annihilating Custer's battalion and seeming to bear out Sitting Bull's prophetic vision. Sitting Bull's leadership inspired his people to a major victory. In response, the US government sent thousands more soldiers to the area, forcing many of the Lakotas to surrender over the next year. But Sitting Bull refused to surrender, and in May 1877 he led his band north to Wood Mountain, North-Western Territory (now Saskatchewan). He remained there until 1881, at which time he and most of his band returned to US territory and surrendered to U.S. forces.

After working as a performer with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, Sitting Bull returned to the Standing Rock Agency in South Dakota. Because of fears that he would use his influence to support the Ghost Dance movement, Indian Service agent James McLaughlin at Fort Yates ordered his arrest. During an ensuing struggle between Sitting Bull's followers and the agency police, Sitting Bull was shot in the side and head by Standing Rock policemen Lieutenant Bull Head (Tatankapah,, Lakota: Tȟatȟáŋka Pȟá) and Red Tomahawk (Marcelus Chankpidutah,, Lakota: Čhaŋȟpí Dúta)) after the police were fired upon by Sitting Bull's supporters. His body was taken to nearby Fort Yates for burial. In 1953, his Lakota family exhumed what were believed to be his remains, reburying them near Mobridge, South Dakota, near his birthplace.

One of Sitting Bull’s five wives was a "two-spirit“ man. Virtually all American Indian tribes had a tradition of "two-spirits,“ homosexual males assuming the roles of women, and women assuming the roles of men, in work, sex, and social functions. Indians revered the two-spirit, typically an effeminate man or masculine woman who did not fit into standard gender roles. Two-spirits were treated as sacred and held ceremonial roles as psychic healers, medicine men, prophets, and shamans.

European settlers repressed the tradition and it went underground, reemerging after the rebirth of Indian culture and the rise of gay liberation in the 1970s.


  1. Stern, Keith. Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals. Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.