Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake in Standard Lakota Orthography, also nicknamed Slon-he or “Slow”), a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man and revered Native American tribal chief, is killed by Indian agency police while being arrested on December 15, 1890.
Sitting Bull’s arrest is ordered to prevent his fleeing the reservation to support the Ghost Dance movement, a new religion which has evolved in reaction to Native Americans’ forced submission to government authority and reservation life. Around 5:30 a.m. on December 15, thirty-nine Indian agency police officers and four volunteers approach Sitting Bull’s house and lead him outside. When he refuses to mount a horse, the police use force and shooting erupts from the crowd that has gathered. Sitting Bull is shot in the head by Sergeant Red Tomahawk and drops to the ground.