Ernie LaPointe on Tatanka Iyotake – Sitting Bull

Profile Ernie LaPointe on Tatanka Iyotake - Sitting Bull

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Ernie LaPointe, Great Grandson of Tatanka Iyotake (Sitting Bull) Buffalo Bull Who Sits Down who was a Sun dancer, Medicine Man and Chief of the non-treaty Lakota, speaks to Mark Ulyseas in an exclusive interview

You may send an email to Ernie LaPointe for book signings, talks etc. : crowfoot@spe.midco.net


Introduction 

Not long ago Europe was called the Old World and North America, the New World. No one mentioned the indigenous people living on the continent for thousands of years. It was assumed that they were of no significance: Their culture was considered inferior by the marauding white folk who took it upon themselves to civilise the natives by first occupying their lands and then engaging them in battle to seize control. All this culminated in the indigenous people being relegated to ‘reservations’ like animals. The ancient way of life, the languages were all but extinguished. Their young were civilised…Christianised. The invaders had distorted their own truths in their haste to seize the wealth and lands that did not belong to them.

It was cultural genocide.

Sitting Bull’s real name is Tatanka Iyotake, Buffalo Bull Who Sits Down. He belonged to the Húŋkpapȟa tribe of the Lakota Nation. History written by non-Lakota accuse him of leading the indigenous peoples against General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn on June 25, 1876. He was never there. In fact he stayed behind at the settlement to protect the women and children. After the battle of the Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull was declared Public Enemy No.1 and was pursued by the US Government and the media.

Prior to the battle Sitting Bull had a vision that warned him against the desecration of the dead (US soldiers) in a battle in which the white soldiers were defeated… And if this happened great misfortune would befall the indigenous people. Unfortunately, the dead were desecrated by the victorious Natives in the aftermath of the battle of Little Big Horn.

The rest is now history…like the slaughter at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890, where unarmed Native Americans were gunned down by the US Cavalry two weeks after the murder of Sitting Bull at Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Perhaps the cavalry in their feeble minds sought revenge for the humiliation of Custer. But this was not a victory. It was murder in cold blood of unarmed men, women and children of the Native Americans.

The US Government viewed the traditional customs of the indigenous people as heathenish and hastily enacted the Indian Offenses Act 1883 that outlawed the continuing of their customs that were un-Christian like. It was as late as 1978 that the Indian Religious Freedom Act guaranteeing the right of the Lakota and other tribes to perform their sacred rituals and ceremonies was passed.

And while control was wrested and lands occupied by white settlers, the US Government signed a treaty in 1868, wherein the Lakota Nation were granted exclusive rights to the Black Hills, in perpetuity. Unfortunately, the discovery of gold in the Black Hills changed the Government’s stance and it forced the Lakota Nation to surrender part of the Black Hills.

The sacred Black Hills were again defiled by a white man from Connecticut who dynamited and drilled the faces of four white men onto Mount Rushmore.

In the following pages you will read about and hear the voice of the great Tatanka Iyotake, Buffalo Bull Who Sits Down, through his great grandson Ernie LaPointe who presents us with glimpses of his life during a time when word was honour and the people lived in harmony with Mother Earth.

Toksa Ake, (See You Again). There are no words for good-bye or farewell in the Lakota language.

– Mark Ulyseas

Page One Ernie LaPointe great grandson of Tatanka Iyotake (Sitting Bull) Buffalo Bull Who Sits Down Live Encounters Magazine April 2015

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Page SixErnie LaPointe great grandson of Tatanka Iyotake (Sitting Bull) Buffalo Bull Who Sits Down Live Encounters Magazine April 2015

Earnest (Ernie) Wayne LaPointe, a disabled Vietnam veteran, was born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota in 1948.

He grew up in Rapid City, SD, with his half-sister Marlene Little Spotted Horse.  Their late mother Angelique LaPointe, nee Spotted Horse, was a homemaker.  His late father Claude LaPointe farmed on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and worked in a lumber yard in Rapid City.

Ernie attended the public school system in Rapid City.  When he was 10 years old, his mother died of cancer. At age 17 his father died of a heart attack.  He lived with his sister Marlene, who was already married at that time, until he was 18 years old and old enough to join the military in 1966.  He was stationed in Korea, Turkey, Germany and all over the United States.  He did one tour in Vietnam in 1970-71.  He got an honorable discharge from the Army in 1972.

Ernie is a sun dancer and lives the traditional way of the Lakota and follows the rules of the sacred pipe.

On his mother’s side he is the great-grandson of Sitting Bull and Seen By Her Nation Woman, grandson of Standing Holy (Sitting Bull’s youngest daughter), her Christian name was Mary Sitting Bull, and Urban Spotted Horse.  Ernie can point out a long line of chiefs on his mother’s as well as on his father’s side.  His grandfather Spotted Horse was the son of Hunts Enemy and the grandson of Chief Charging Bear.  His great-grandmother’s, Tokala Win LaPointe, brother was Chief Painted Horse.

In 1992, Ernie was given the opportunity to set the record straight on the Sitting Bull direct blood descendants by speaking at the induction of Sitting Bull into the Hall of Fame of American Indian Chiefs at Anadarko, Oklahoma.  Since then he had numerous invitations from Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota, and the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Montana, to speak about his heritage.  He also spoke at universities in Indiana (University of Notre Dame), Michigan, Ohio and Texas (Temple University).  The Monroe (Michigan) Custer Celebration Committee invited Ernie repeatedly to join and speak about his great-grandfather.

Ernie was also interviewed at a closed-circuit television station in Killeen, TX. This was broadcast in the Killeen area schools and approximately 50,000 students viewed the programming in their classroom environment in and around East Central Texas.  He also gave a lecture on the Lakota culture and about Sitting Bull to a group of high school history teachers and also some college history professors in Liberty, New York.

Ernie is also a frequent guest at the Fort St. Joseph Museum in Niles, Michigan, which includes lectures for adults, and also for teenaged children in high schools.  Ernie had a lecturing series in Germany and Finland at different museums and cultural centers.

During the summer time, Go Native America Tours has Ernie lecture to tourists from all over the world, and tour with them through South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.

You may send an email to Ernie LaPointe for book signings, talks etc. : crowfoot@spe.midco.net
FACEBOOK/ernielapointe

FACEBOOK/sittingbull’svoice/publicgroup

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