White Bull

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White Bull
Tȟatȟáŋka Ská
File:White Bull by Kern Bros, 1880s.jpg
Personal details
Born April 1849
Black Hills
Died June 21, 1947(1947-06-21) (aged 98)
South Dakota
Relations Brother, One Bull, uncle, Sitting Bull, grandson, Dave Bald Eagle
Parents Father, Makes Room

White Bull (Lakota: Tȟatȟáŋka Ská) (April 1849 – June 21, 1947) was the nephew of Sitting Bull, and a famous warrior in his own right. White Bull participated in the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876. For years it was rumored that White Bull boasted of killing Lt. George Armstrong Custer at the infamous battle. Although, others that knew White Bull himself claim that he never made that statement but admitted to struggling with Custer[citation needed].

Born in the Black Hills in South Dakota, White Bull came from a prominent Sioux family. He was the son of Makes Room, a Miniconjou chief and the brother of One Bull. After the battle, White Bull joined his uncle, Hunkpapa Sioux leader Sitting Bull, while fleeing to Canada. Also, young Chief Solomon "Smoke" and Chief No Neck (Lakota: Tȟahú Waníče) (these two chiefs were the sons of the old Chief Smoke 1774–1864), fled with White Bull and Sitting Bull and their bands to Canada.

White Bull surrendered to government troops in 1876. He eventually became a chief, replacing his father Chief Makes Room upon his death. He acted as a judge of the Court of Indian Offenses, and was a proponent of Lakota land claims in the Black Hills. White Bull and Wendell Smoke (Wendell was the son of Chief Solomon "Smoke") took over as the main headmen of Bald people and Short Bald people bands of the Bad Faces after Chief Solomon "Smoke" had died in 1895 at the Pine Ridge Agency in South Dakota. Chief White Bull died in South Dakota in 1947.

White Bull's relationship to his uncle made him an important contributor to Stanley Vestal's biography of Sitting Bull.

His grandson Dave Bald Eagle, served with the U.S. 4th Cavalry and later in the 82nd Airborne.

Popular culture

White Bull, played by Sal Mineo, was used as a character in the 1958 Disney Western adventure film Tonka.


  • Stanley Vestal, Warpath: The True Story of the Fighting Sioux Told in a Biography of Chief White Bull (University of Nebraska Press, First Bison Book printing, 1984) ISBN 0-8032-9601-0
  • The Warrior Who Killed Custer: The Personal Narrative of Chief Joseph White Bull. Translated and Edited By James H. Howard. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1968.
  • Lakota Warrior: A Personal Narrative. Edited by James H. Howard. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998.

External links