Great Grandson Of Sitting Bull Speaks At Washita Battlefield
Washita Battlefield National Historic Site held a special program on November 3rd that featured Ernie LaPointe, the great-grandson of the respected Lakota leader, Sitting Bull. The presentation was held in the park’s visitor center gallery. Approximately 80 visitors attended from local and surrounding communities, with some travelling longer distances from outside the area and state.
LaPointe, who spent many years authenticating his lineage through oral family history, ceremonies, DNA and genealogical research, recounted family stories and expounded upon his famous great-grandfather’s life and legacy. He also explained the process in working with the Smithsonian Institution in repatriating several items from the Natural History Museum under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPA).
LaPointe is currently working on a new documentary on Sitting Bull titled, “Sitting Bull’s Voice”. He has authored a recent publication entitled Sitting Bull, His Life and Legacy, which is carried as a sales item at the park bookstore. This book reveals the rich oral history of his family, the stories of Sitting Bull’s childhood, and his reputation as a fierce warrior and honored leader.
LaPointe and his wife, Sonja, visited the park last March, which prompted this special opportunity for a return visit and presentation.
“The Washita story is intimately connected with the story of Little Bighorn in many ways," said Lisa Conrad Frost, the park's superintendent. "It was an honor to have Mr. LaPointe speak about his ancestor, who is one of the most notable historical Native American leaders in our history. Opportunities like this are rare and special. To have the ability to connect personally with a lineal descendant such as Mr. LaPointe is important to understand the full context and perspectives of stories that are historically significant.”