Silence was meaningful with the lakota, and his granting a space of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that "thought comes before speech."
And in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect. More powerful than words was silence with the Lakota.
His strict obseverance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by the white man of being a stoic. He has been judged to be dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling.
As a matter of truth, he was the most sympathetic of men, but his emotions of depth and sincerity were tempered with contrl. Silence meant to the Lakota what it meant to Disraeli when he said; "Silence is the mother of truth," for the silent man was rver to be trusted, while the man ever ready with speech was never taken seriously.
Chief Luther Standing Bear