Topics covered in this document:
Crazy Horse (1849-1877) -- or as he was known in his native Lakota tongue,
Tashunca-uitco -- was both an Oglala holy man and a celebrated warrior.
Believing in the sanctity of his spirit, he refused to allow any
photographs to be taken of him.
As a visionary holy man, Crazy Horse doggedly fought to instill in
his people the desire to preserve the traditional Oglala values and way
But it wasn't Crazy Horse, the holy man, who burst onto the pages of
the history of the American West ... it was Crazy Horse, the warrior.
Unlike his peaceful cousin, Black
Elk, Crazy Horse was recognized for his ferocity and daring skill in
A common measure of bravery among the Oglala Sioux was for a warrior
to sneak into an enemy camp and make off with their horses.
Before turning 13, Crazy Horse had proven his bravery by stealing horses
from the neighboring Crow. He further established his ferocity in battle by
leading a war party while still a teenager.
Crazy Horse Joins Red Cloud
In 1865-1868, Crazy Horse joined with Red Cloud in skirmishes against the
encroachment of white settlers in Wyoming. He also played a key role in
the 1867 defeat of William Fetterman's Brigade at Ft. Phil Kearny.
Near Extinction of Bison Herds
White settlers nearly drove the bison (buffalo) population to extinction.
How big and brave the American "great white hunters" must have felt as they
fired their rifles from passing trains into the grazing herds. And how
completely and totally stupid they were to needlessly slaughter
all those magnificent beasts of the prairie, leaving their carcasses to
rot on the plains.
U.S. Treaty Breakers
In 1873, the U.S. ignored all the agreements it had made in the Fort
Laramie Treaty of 1868, which guaranteed the sanctity of Lakota lands.
[Are you surprised?]
The U.S. government continued to perfect their skill at treaty breaking
thoughout the rest of the 19th Century.
Under orders from General Custer, a survey party marched into the Black
Hills in 1874 to open the territory to gold-hungry Americans. Infuriated,
Crazy Horse joined in a war party to stop them.
Through his marriage to a Cheyenne woman, Crazy Horse managed to ally
himself with both the Oglala and the Cheyenne nations.
As a leader of the resistance movement against American land greed,
Crazy Horse gained the respect of both nations, leading them in a
continuing series of skirmishes.
In 1876, the War Department ordered all Lakota bands to move onto their
reservations. Crazy Horse gathered a resistance force of nearly 1,200
Oglala and Cheyenne warriors to do battle with the U.S. Army.
On June 17, 1876, General George Crook advanced along Rosebud Creek
toward Sitting Bull's encampment
on the Little Bighorn River. Crazy Horse and his warriors managed to
scatter Crook's army across the plains.
Following this victory, Crazy Horse joined forces with Sitting Bull.
General Custer's Last Stand
On June 25, the two warrior chiefs, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull,
along with Chief Gall, participated
in the now famous battle in which General Custer and his Seventh Cavalry
made their last stand.
Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull flanked Custer on the north and west as
warriors led by Chief Gall attacked from the south and east.
U.S. Mandate: Wipe Out All Indians
As you probably know, the defeat of the Seventh Cavalry at Little
Bighorn created a maniacal desire among U.S. Army generals to wipe out
Sitting Bull and Gall retreated into Canada, but Crazy Horse stayed
behind to battle General Nelson Miles as he relentlessly pursued the
Lakota and their allies throughout the winter of 1876-1877.
Crazy Horse's Surrender
But Crazy Horse could not withstand the onslaught for long.
On May 6, 1877, Crazy Horse surrendered, whereupon he was confined to
Crazy Horse's Wife Takes Ill
In September 1877, Crazy Horse's wife fell ill and he left the
reservation without authorization [he didn't have his hall pass, I
guess]. He simply wanted to take his sick wife to see her parents.
But General Crook took it as a blatant disregard of his orders [it
appears that severe egotism was a common malady among Army generals of
Death of Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse was arrested. At first he didn't resist his arrest. But
when he realized that he was going to be locked up inside a guardhouse,
he started struggling with his captors.
While one Army soldier held his arms, another soldier ran his bayonnet
through Crazy Horse.
And an honorable warrior and holy man died.
Return to a higher level:
Have a pleasant day!