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Sitting Bull’s Headdress?

Sitting Bull’s Headdress

A Sioux headdress with an ID code that begins with the letter X, indicating that the artifact's provenance is unknown
A Sioux headdress that may have belonged to Sitting Bull
Sitting Bull’s great-grandson, Ernie LaPointe
Closeup of the headdress's bead work
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Is this Sitting Bull’s Headdress?

Can his great-grandson tell us?

Through inspection of form, materials and markings, curator Arnie Brownstone has identified this artifact as a Sioux headdress from the late 19th Century. That makes it rare and valuable. It may be rarer still. Arnie has reason to believe it once belonged to the great chief Sitting Bull. But he doesn’t know for sure.

Museum artifacts that lack clear provenance are given ID numbers prefixed with the letter X.  The headdress is such an "X File."

Curator Brownstone has tried every scientific method at his disposal but cannot prove if it was owned by Sitting Bull or not.

Where can one turn when rational avenues are exhausted?

Museum Secrets decided to consult someone with a personal connection to Sitting Bull: his great-grandson Ernie La Pointe. Ernie believes he can discover the answer by consulting the realm of the spirits.

Can he really tell us if the headdress belonged to Sitting Bull?

Decide for yourself by watching Museum Secrets: Inside The Royal Ontario Museum.

The Secret of Sitting Bull's Headdress (Or Not)

When Sitting Bull’s great-grandson visited the ROM to view the headdress, he moved his hands over it to try to feel what he called its "energy."

What he felt was... no... we won't provide a spoiler here. You'll have to watch the episode. But we will reveal some further secrets:

The Secret History of the Battle of the Little Big Horn

Want to know what happened before, during and after the Battle of Little Bighorn from Sitting Bull's point of view? His great-grandson tells us in this Web Exclusive Video: Battle Revisited.

Web Exclusive: Why Sitting Bull Gave His Headdress Away

It's no secret that Sitting Bull and his tribe were forced to flee north after the Battle of Little Big Horn - a battle that was portrayed by the US media as an Indian massacre. And most Canadians will know that once Sitting Bull reached Canada he enjoyed the sympathy of an RCMP officer named James Walsh.

Though the native headdress in the ROM is without provenance, many historical accounts agree that before Sitting Bull returned to the USA, he gave his headdress to Walsh as a parting gift. Sitting Bull's great-grandson tells us why in this Web Exclusive Video:  Gifted Headdress.

Believe It Or Not

As a boy, Sitting Bull was called "hunkishne" which means "slow." How did such a child grow up to become a great chief? His great-grandson reveals the answer in this Web Exclusive Video: Boy Named Slow.


Cornflower • #2 • 2018-03-17 16:34:29
Someone online says Sitting Bull\'s headdress was given back to the U.S. by the Sitting Bull\'s Great-Grandson is this True or is the one they\'re claiming is Sitting Bull\'s is another headdress (since knowing Native People-they would probably hav

Amanda_MuseumSecrets • #6 • 2018-03-17 16:34:29
@ #2: Well, many historical accounts agree that before Sitting Bull returned to the USA, he gave his headdress to RCMP Officer James Walsh as a parting gift. Watch the video Gifted Headdress for more ab

Colin MacGregor Stevens • #8 • 2018-03-17 16:34:29
Did the ROM consider DNA testing? If DNA was taken from the visiting descendant, and if the right lineage was there for the DNA, and if old DNA was recovered from the bonnet (.e.g. a hair caught inside) and they matched then that would be an indicati

treat • #14 • 2018-03-17 16:34:29
looking for information of the five robs that deplict custers battle ordered to be assembled after the battle of little big horn by sitting bull.

jimmy boy • #16 • 2018-03-17 16:34:29
I am sure this is sitting bulls head dress... if u look at the 3 feather on this piece u can see its discoloured ,, a little brown and has been replaced now if u look at the sioux war dance song and freeze it when the wild bull that sits comes on u

Ashly and mom • #40 • 2018-03-17 16:34:29
Sitting Bull pic show him with a light colour band. The one on the show shows a dark band and would have turned out dark it the pic. The second thing is that the triangle on the band are a different size and not in the right position. Finally ther

ToddS • #108 • 2018-03-17 16:34:29
Sitting Bull gave his Battle of the Little Bighorn headdress to Major James Walsh of the North-West Mounted Police--NOT the RCMP! The latter did not even come into existence until 1923 and Walsh had been dead by that time since 1906.\n\nNWMP Major Ja