A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Chief Sitting Bull's Grave

   Here is where Sitting Bull is buried, or part of him, or maybe none at all.  As the story goes, Sitting Bull was "accidentally" shot in Fort Yates, North Dakota and buried near where the "accident" took place.  In 1953, members of his Lakota family in Mobridge, South Dakota drove north to Fort Yates at night with backhoe in tow and dug up the bones of their great leader.  They were back home before the folks of Fort Yates knew what happened.  Morbridge didn't try to hide their deed though.  They sealed up the bones in a steel vault surrounded by 20 tons of concrete, buried the lot overlooking the Missouri River and erected a granite pillar with a 7 ton bust of Sitting Bull on top, then dotted the roadways with signs encouraging the traveler to stop and see The Grave of Chief Sitting Bull the Indian Chief Who Defeated General Custer at the Little Big Horn.

   Fort Yates meanwhile laughs at it all for they maintain all that Mobridge got were horse bones or maybe a white man who was buried on top of Sitting Bull.  They say Sitting Bull was buried with quicklime so that he would rot quickly.  Fort Yates soon after covered their grave site with a slab of concrete and a big rock to deter any other grave diggers from Morbridge.  This is just one many stories surrounding the grave of Chief Sitting Bull and the controversy continues to this day as to where the final resting place should be, for bones they are not even sure are Sitting Bull.

   I had planned on visiting the Fort Yates, ND site of Sitting Bull's grave.  But their grave site was an iffy prospect to say the least.  It would require a 30 mile trek down a road that I would only have to return back on.  It is marked by a small hand painted wood sign leaning off to the side held up by the prevailing northern wind.  Then if you were fortunate enough to get that far, the grave was only to be that cement slab off in the weeds somewhere, if you could find it.  I figured if Fort Yates cared so little, then I could too and blew that one off.  Instead I went looking for an old school house that was covered by its now-deceased owner with over 4000 cups.  I never found it and the locals had no idea what I was talking about.


  1. dang! i'd have liked to see that cup-house, too!

  2. You always have an interesting story to tell us!
    Enjoy your weekend. :)

  3. wish you could have found the house. Sounds like you're having fun.


  4. Wherever he's buried Sitting Bull doesn't look too happy about it. I'd have liked to have seen that house too.

  5. Where on earth do you find out about these things? Amazing journey, John. Honestly, you are more fun to read than the newspaper!

  6. Well you must be a reader for sure or a huge imagination. This is incredible.


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