Hunkpapa Chief

1847 -1947


The identity of the slayer of George Armstrong Custer at the Little Boghorn in June 1876 has been a matter conjecture.

Rain-In-The-Face first claimed to have taken "Yellow Hair's" life; his claim was asserted in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "The Revenge of Rain- In-The-Face."

In his book `Sitting Bull; Champion of the Sioux`(1932), historian Stanley Vestal makes a case that White Bull killed Custer.

Vestal says that White Bull did not claim Custer's life after the battle for fear that the whites would take revenge on him but disclosed it toVestal in 1932.

Vestal kept the secret until White Bull died, disclosing it in a 1957 article for `American Heritage`.

Vestal pointed out that in 1926, on the fiftieth anniversary of the battle, eighty surviving Cheyennes and Sioux picked White Bull to lead their column accross the site.

However, in neither his Sitting Bull biography nor his White Bull biography did Vestal claim that White Bull killed Custer.

Robert Utley, in his biography of Sitting Bull (The Lance and the Shiled, 1993), contends that the assertion of White Bull's responsibility for the Custer slaying was not contained in Vestal's notes.