Never before has the story of Sitting Bull been written and published by a lineal descendant. In Sitting Bull: His Life and Legacy, Ernie LaPointe, a great-grandson of the famous Hunkpapa Lakota chief, presents the family tales and memories told to him about his great grandfather.
LaPointe not only recounts the rich oral history of his family - the stories of Sitting Bull's childhood, his reputation as a fierce warrior, his growth into a sage and devoted leader of his people and the betrayal that led to his murder - but also explains what it means to be Lakota in the time of Sitting Bull and now. In many ways the oral history differs from what has become the standard and widely accepted biography of Sitting Bull. LaPointe explains the discrepancies, how they occurred and why he wants to tell his story of Tatanka Iyotake. This book is powerful. It is a story of Native American history, told by a Native American, for all people to better understand a culture, a leader and a man.
Review by Brittany:
This book has to be one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time. The author of this particular book, Ernie LaPointe is a lineal descent and a great-grandson of the legendary Sitting Bull. Despite the fact that this is not a biography that most would deem conventional, it speaks truth and is filled with family history as well as oral stories, research, legal papers, and even official letters to back it up!
LaPointe allows for the readers to understand Sitting Bull how his family remembered him through traditional oral stories and personal accounts. In addition, LaPointe paints a clear picture on what it was like in the life of this historical icon. Sitting Bull isn’t portrayed as this larger than life character with flashy embellishments like most authors try to convey Sitting Bull. Instead, LaPointe sets the record straight – Sitting Bull was a humble man, who took to life as it came to him and accomplished much in his lifetime. For instance, he was an intelligent warrior where he became a sash bearer of the Strong Heart Society at age 17 and was elected its leader by the time he was in his mid 20’s. Sitting Bull also became a holy man like his uncle Four Horns before him, and even became chief of the Tiatunwa Lakota Nation at the age of 36. None of these were simple tasks to achieve. However through LaPointe’s book, it allows for readers to see that through hard work, strong belief in his culture, and the foundation of his people’s traditions made him essentially a force to be reckoned with for the years to come.
As a result, “Sitting Bull: His Life and Legacy” is a real page turner and is a book where readers can experience Sitting Bull in a whole new perspective – one that we don’t often see when reading other works about him. LaPointe does a great job in bringing life and profound insight to who Sitting Bull was and the legacy he left behind for his future generations like his great-grandson.
Now a little bit more on the author - Ernie LaPointe was born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota who lives the traditional way of the Lakota and follows the rule of the sacred pipe. Not to mention, Mr. LaPointe even sometimes frequents our good ole Prairie Edge with his lovely wife Sonja whom are both genuinely wonderful people who always have time to share a little knowledge and good conversation, and are people we are honored to know!