The Last Sovereigns: Sitting Bull and the Resistance of the Free Lakotas

Robert M. Utley. Bison, $24.95 (200p) ISBN 978-1-4962-2022-6
Historian Utley (Geronimo) delivers a thorough account of Sitting Bull’s years in Canada after the Battle of Little Bighorn. Harassed by the U.S. Army, Sitting Bull led 1,000 of his followers across the border in 1877. Though the North-West Mounted Police initially granted permission for the Hunkpapa Sioux to stay in the country, diplomatic pressure from Washington, D.C., and conflicts with local tribes led to a government policy of encouraging the refugees to return to the U.S. Maj. James Walsh was tasked with persuading Sitting Bull to leave Canada for the Standing Rock Reservation in North and South Dakota, despite his fears of punishment. When the Canadian government became convinced that Walsh was too friendly with Sitting Bull, he was replaced by the trader Jean Louis Legaré, who pressured the Lakota chief and his last few remaining lodges to turn themselves in at Fort Buford, N.D. In 1890, Sitting Bull was killed while being arrested on the reservation. Utley amasses a wealth of information, though his recaps of long, inconclusive discussions make for some dry reading. Still, this is a well-informed study of a decisive moment for “the last free Lakotas.” (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/30/2020
Release date: 10/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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