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Our Friend Sitting Bull

Mary Christopher | Isbn 9781948509275 | $19.99 | Frontier & Pioneer Life | Native American | Midwest History |

Guess who’s coming to dinner? It was a steamy, late-summer day when newlyweds Lizzie and George Dell pulled up their two covered wagons at the site where they would live as cattle ranchers for the next twelve years.

Lizzie was twenty years old. She was exhausted, hungry, thirsty, sweaty, AND six months pregnant. Her skin was tanned like leather and her hands were calloused from driving George’s team of horses four months while he drove the oxen-pulled wagon. Surrounding her were the cowboys, cattle, and horses that accompanied the couple on their long journey.

It would not be long before Lizzie discovered that there were no neighbors for miles in this beautiful but remote part of the Dakota Territory. She wondered if the years ahead would bring a lonely, isolated existence.

They might have—but here comes the BIG REVEAL! One summer day Chief Sitting Bull rode up on his horse. He must have liked the dinner and company that day because he came back often and he brought a lot of family and friends with him.

“Mary Christopher’s Our Friend Sitting Bull is a remarkable true story pulled from her own family’s history about a surprising friendship in the pioneer era, one  that portrays a fresh and interesting perspective of a famous historical figure. With engaging facts and a glossary for support, readers will be both entertained and educated by this fascinating tale.” —Kali White VanBaale, author and creative writing professor

“This unique story these Iowa pioneers experienced as South Dakota homesteaders and cattle ranchers is well-written and engaging.” —Nancy Tystad Koupal, director and editor-in-chief of the Pioneer Girl Project and former director, South Dakota Historical Society Press

“I really enjoyed this wonderful true story and highly recommend it to both kids and adults. The book is totally relevant to what we study in my classes.  I think that Our Friend Sitting Bull is a great read!” –Eugene Fracek, member Rosebud Sioux Tribe, teacher of American Indian Studies at Simpson College, retired principal from Des Moines public schools, and former Director of Indian Education for the South Dakota Department of Education

“This is a great book from the perspective of a pioneer family from Howard County, Iowa, moving to an unsettled land in the 1880s, overcoming challenges and making friends with Lakota Chief Sitting Bull.”–Marcie Klomp, Editor Cresco Times Plain Dealer

“When I first heard this story presented by Miss Christopher at Findley Elementary, it really drew me in. Now being able to see it become a book is truly amazing! It is such an interesting story that can now be shared everywhere for a long time.”–Madison Keoouthai, age 14, 8th grader at Southeast Polk Junior High School

“As a descendant of the Dells, I grew up hearing stories about their friendship with Sitting Bull and the Sioux Indians in the Dakota Territory long ago. This new book, with its depiction of settlers’ life on the prairie, captures the spirit of those true tales and the importance of one family’s good relationship with their Native American neighbors. I hope that the historical events described here will encourage readers to value the lives of their own ancestors and be open to the
experiences of other people different from themselves.”
—Sharon Hudgins, author, journalist, and greatgranddaughter

Mary Radcliffe Christopher  is a fifth-generation Iowan who lives in Des Moines. The Dells were her Great-grandparents (her Father’s Mother’s parents) and she grew up hearing these stories. This is her first book.