The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, July 1933 - April, 1934 Page: 66
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
pressed to his son in 1881 at the time of Sitting Bull's sur-
render, represents the great Sioux chief's opinion of the civiliza-
tion of the white man. Well might he say, "Indians! There
are no Indians left but me." He was more truly the last of
his type than any of the familiar heroes of Cooper's novels.
Sitting Bull was born near Bullhead, South Dakota, in 1831,
and was killed in 1890. He was loyal to his people, and ever
alert to champion their rights and interests. He has been
charged with inveterate hostility towards the white people; yet,
according to Mr. Vestal, he never started a war against soldiers
An interesting characteristic of the book is that the statements
of living witnesses--the warriors who fought under Sitting
Bull--rather than the printed reports and manuscripts of white
men are the chief sources from which it has been written. Some
historians will, no doubt, find it difficult to share with the author
his confidence in the "tenacious memories" of the old Indians.
Furthermore, one cannot help but wonder how much Sitting
Bull's martyrdom to the cause of the old-fashioned Indian has
magnified his greatness in the memories of those graduates of
the war trail who still breathe the upper air. It may be that
Mr. Vestal's Sitting Bull will be "debunked" by writers of the
future; but in this book the great warrior is certainly having his
day at the bar of history.
Mr. Vestal's story is convincing. He has not spared his
efforts to weigh the evidence and compare the different versions
of the various informants. He has not only been a life-long stu-
dent of Indians but has been associated with them a great deal
of the time since early childhood. Thus he has acquired a sym-
pathy for the red men and an understanding of the Indian mind
without which such a biography could not have been written.
In his treatment of the Indian's religion, of his ethical concepts,
of his standards of propriety, and his attitude towards war the
author gives evidence of an acquaintance with the red men that
cannot be acquired from books. The book is more than a biog-
raphy; it is a study of Indian life and psychology and the story
of the efforts of a primitive but proud and virile people to resist
a civilization they despised.
RUPERT N. RICHARDSON.
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Texas State Historical Association & Barker, Eugene C. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 37, July 1933 - April, 1934, periodical, 1934; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101094/m1/74/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.