THE AMUSING PARANOIA OF SITTING BULL.

The portrait above (from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, September 22, 1883) is taken from a photograph of Sitting Bull as he appeared at the celebrations for the laying of the cornerstone of the new capitol for the Dakota territory in Bismarck. At this time he was living under a sort of lightweight house arrest, described as an “amnesty,” at Standing Rock. In the accompanying article, the reporter remarks with wry amusement, “He is very fearful of some plot to spirit him away, in violation of his amnesty, and it was with great difficulty that the Indian agent at Standing Rock induced him to go to Bismarck to attend the ceremonies at the laying of the corner stone of the Capitol.” Seven years later, the Indian agent at Standing Rock decided to arrest Sitting Bull (on the grounds that he might possibly do something nasty at some point in the future) and spirit him away, in violation of his amnesty. Sitting Bull was killed when his friends resisted his arrest. Life is funny that way.

Comments

  1. RepubAnon says:

    Why would Sitting Bull have the crazy idea that the US Government would break its promises? It’s not like they ever had broken treaties with the Amerindians before… oh, wait.

    • Dr. Boli says:

      Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper often showed considerable sympathy for Sitting Bull and other Indians whom the Eastern liberals in New York considered wronged. In 1877, when Sitting Bull had moved his tribe to Canada, the newspaper published this cartoon. Many historians today seem to think of the political opinions of the past as monolithic, but in fact much of the Eastern population was outraged by the treatment of the American Indians in the West. Frank Leslie’s, after all, was a popular institution with a large circulation, not some lonely crank’s mouthpiece.

      • RepubAnon says:

        Ah, but did the leadership of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) read (or sympathize with) the views expressed in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper? The history of the US Government’s treatment of the Amerindians would imply that they did not. For a modern example, see e.g. Cobell v. Salazar

        As Martin the Mess observed, you’re only paranoid if you believe that they’re all out to get you, and you’re mistaken.

        • Dr. Boli says:

          Quite so. We have enough experience of the federal government provoking outrage recently that even you young people are not so naive as to believe that public opinion counts for much when a bureaucrat has made his mind up.

      • Regina Terrae says:

        Huh. The Eastern liberals may have sympathized with the Western Indians, but that didn’t stop other Easteners from deporting the Cherokee, and that after their (our, God save us) ancestors had killed off most of the rest of the Eastern Indians. But thank you for pointing out that opinion was not monolithic.

  2. “Even paranoids have enemies. The Russians should put that on their money.” — Tom Clancy

    “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” — Kurt Cobain

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