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Sitting Crow
Kangi Iyotanke



Photo by Alexander Gardner, 1872

Scarlet Eagle, a/k/a Sitting Crow, fought alongside Kill Eagle (also Blackfoot Sioux) during the LBH battle.

At Standing Rock he was listed with his following in the 1885 census as Kangi Iyotanke. — Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

Census materials indicate that Sitting Crow was born about 1822. The earliest mentions of him I've so far located are related to the DeSmet peace mission to the non-treaty Hunkpapas in spring 1868. Sitting Crow was a member of Fr DeSmet's escort, indicating that he was a member of the pro-treaty element of the Sihasapa (Blackfoot Sioux). He's not mentioned in the records of the peace commissions of 1865-67. According to one of the 1868 documents he was a member of the Sihasapa chapter of the Strong Hearts (Chante Tinza) warrior society. By 1868 the Strong Hearts had been a key articulator of an anti-USA, non-treaty isolationist agenda for a generation. Sitting Crow's adoption of a pro-treaty stance is one indication of a dramatic shift in Sihasapa attitudes during the mid-60's, which saw a majority of this Lakota tribal division move away from isolationism.

Sitting Crow signed the treaty of 1868 at Ft Rice in July. Agencies were established on the new Great Sioux Reservation, including the Grand River agency in fall 1868 (subsequently relocated to Standing Rock). I've not made an exhaustive study of Grand River documents, but Sitting Crow is noted as one of the resident headmen there in spring 1870 (he isn't mentioned in a fall 1869 document which lists leaders at GR). Thereafter he seems a fixture at Grand River-Standing Rock. The Alex Gardner shot above shows that he was one of the three Sihasapa leaders on the Grand River delegation to Washington in 1872, along with Used As Their Shield (or Grass, father of John Grass), and Iron that Drives Off (Maza Wanapeya - probably not a golfing allusion). He was resident at Standing Rock as a leader of his band through the Great Sioux War, though it is highly likely that younger band members including relatives (and namesakes?) joined the non-treaty bands during the spring-summer of 1876 and so were present at the Litttle Bighorn. He remained a Sihasapa headman at Standing Rock through the 1880s, but then I lose sight of him.

The peaked cap accesorised in native fashion seems to be a feature of the 1872 delegations from Grand River and Fort Peck agencies, as the Gardner portraits demonstrate. Several Yanktonai leaders are shown wearing variations of this 'look'. Sitting Crow was a Teton adherent of the style. — Kingsley Bray

Photo by Alexander Gardner, 1872

In October 1876, Standing Rock Agency census states that Sitting Crow had 46 people under him.

Sitting Crow
High Bear
Hawk Bear
Iron Horse
Black Crow
Lone Eagle
Kill The Enemy
Red Bear
White Face
Rushing Eagle
Scared at man
Black Lightning
Scarlet Eagle left the band to join under Kills Eagle who went to Greasy Grass.
— LaDonna Brave Bull Allard

If Scarlet Eagle was also called Sitting Crow, I assume he was the son (or nephew) of Chief Sitting Crow.
— Dietmar Schulte-Möhring

Census records for the Standing Rock Agency show Sitting Crow as headman of a small Blackfoot Lakota band, usually ranging in size from about 40 to 60 people. In the Sitting Bull Surrender census, for example, in 1881, he has 16 families, totaling 62 people.

He last appears in the agency records in the 1885 census. By the 1886 census, his band is listed as being led by Iron Horse; in the 1888 census, this band is listed under Bull Head.

I suspect that Sitting Crow (born about 1822 or about 1825) died in late 1885 or early 1886. Strangely, he is not mentioned in the McLaughlin papers for the period; I do not have access to the Standing Rock Agency correspondence files for 1885-86. — Ephriam Dickson


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