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White Bull
Tȟatȟáŋka Ská
Personal details
BornApril 1849
Black Hills
DiedJune 21, 1947(1947-06-21) (aged 98)
South Dakota
  • Makes Room (father)
  • Good Feather (mother)

White Bull (Lakota: Tȟatȟáŋka Ská; April 1849 – June 21, 1947) later known as Joseph White Bull 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.

Early life

Born in the Black Hills in South Dakota, his original name was Bull-Standing-with-Cow. He came from a prominent Sioux family as he was the son of Good Feather, Sitting Bull's sister, and Makes Room, a Miniconjou chief. His brother was One Bull. At the age of 16 White Bull became a warrior and distinguished himself by knocking three scouts from their horses and taking 10 for the tribe. For his feats his uncle Black Moon then gave him the name White Bull.[1]

Little Bighorn

For years it was rumored that White Bull boasted of killing Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer at the infamous battle. However, others who knew White Bull claim that he never made that statement but instead admitted to struggling with Custer.[2][3] 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 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.

Popular culture

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


  1. ^ Agency, Mailing Address: Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument P. O. Box 39 Crow; Us, MT 59022-0039 Phone:638-3236 Contact. "White Bull - Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved 2024-04-04.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Stanley Vestal, "The Man Who Killed Custer" American Heritage Magazine, February 1957, Volume 8, Issue 2
  3. ^ Levin, Sam (2017-02-15). "'Opportunity for healing': General Custer's relative visits Standing Rock". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-04-23.

Further reading