The Sun Dance was an annual ritual performed by the Plains Indians. The Native American tribes who practiced this dance were the Arapaho, Arikara, Cheyenne, Crow, Sioux, Ute, Shoshoni, Kiowa, and Blackfoot tribes. Their rituals varied from tribe to tribe.
The ritual normally lasted for eight days and involved fasting, dancing, and self-torture. The dancers attempted to pull free from skewers which pierced their breast muscles. The skewers were attached to ropes secured to a central pole. The sun dancer would then lean with all his weight against the ropes until either the muscles or the skin was torn away. Sitting Bull took part in the Sun Dance ceremony just before his famous victory at the Little Bighorn.