Crazy Horse as an Icon Tariq Khan Sociology 65 Professor Thorne
Who is Crazy Horse? • One of the greatest Indian Warrior Chiefs • Believed to be born in the year 1840, along Rapid Creek, South Dakota. • Son of the powerful Sioux Indian Nation that dominated the Western Plains. • Crazy Horse was from the western most band, called the Lakota. • The Lakota controlled the largest territory. Starting with the Missouri River and going west, all the way to the Big Horn Mountains, and south all the way to the North Platte River.
Who is Crazy Horse? (cont) • At the time of Crazy Horse’s birth, the Lakota’s were at their peak of power. • The Lakota were proud and free, Contact with the whites was minimal, and their culture was thriving. • For most of his youth, Crazy Horse lived freely with his people on the Great Plains.
Contact with the Whites • By the 1850’s, the whites had made firm inroads into the great plains. • Hundreds of Lakota people were dieing because of the diseases the white man had brought on their quest for expansion. • First open rupture between whites and Sioux occurred in 1854. • The Grattan Massacre was east of Fort Laramie in 1854. • A cow wandered into the encampment that Crazy Horse was visiting at the time and was slaughtered for food.
Contact with the Whites (cont) • The owner wanted the cow back, but was not in any shape to be returned so Lieutenant Grattan and thirty-one men went to the village of Chief Conquering Bear and demanded him to surrender the men that shot the mans cow.
Contact with the Whites (cont) • When they refused to turn in the men, Grattan decided to open fire upon the village and their people, killing Conquering Bear in the line of fire. • His enraged followers descended upon Grattan and his men, killing all of them. • Thus began, thirty years of conflict and open warfare between the U.S. Government and the Sioux. • This event and the death of Conquering Bear had a lasting affect on Crazy Horse. He no longer had trust in the whites.
Fascination with Crazy Horse • One interesting fact is that no one truly knows how he looks as there is no known photograph of him in existence. There is not even a signature, as his hands never touched a peace treaty. • He was one of the U.S. Army’s most sought after Indian Chiefs ever. • He had a special power/medicine that no one else had that protected him in warfare.
Fascination with Crazy Horse (cont) • He was the master of the decoy strategy which was extremely effective. • He would lure a group of enemies into a trap where hundreds of Sioux would be waiting to attack. (Bozeman Trail War 1866-1868) • He was such a great warrior that he earned a very singular honor. He was made a shirt wearer. Only four people that were designated within the tribe to be shirt wearers. Generally the most respected young men within the tribe.
Fascination with Crazy Horse (cont) • He met a woman by the name of Black Buffalo Woman. • Before he could ask her to marry him, she married someone else. • In 1870 Black Buffalo Woman, left her husband No Water, and ran off with Crazy Horse and eventually became the wife of Crazy Horse. • No Water did not take this lightly, and tracked them back to their village and found them, and shot Crazy Horse through the jaw and now Crazy Horse had a scar on his face of his love affair.
Fascination with Crazy Horse (cont) • One responsibility he had as a shirt wearer, he was not to cause problems in his tribe, so they took the shirt away from him. • No longer one of the recognized leaders, but still maintained the respect and status without the shirt. • Warriors would follow Crazy Horse not because he had good strategy in war, but because he was such a superb warrior and showed such bravery in war that warriors would follow him.
Crazy Horse: Modern Day Icon • The U.S. Army embarrassed after the Sioux victory, they rounded up as many men as possible to wage an all out war on the Sioux. They move north looking for the the Sioux, Sitting Bull and his followers fled northward into Canada, but Crazy Horse did not want to leave, did not want to give up. • His followers were so miserable, that they eventually began to abandon him. • He realized this, and did not want his people to go through this hardship so Crazy Horse and his band arrived at Fort Robinson Nebraska, the army quickly confiscated his arms and horses.
Crazy Horse: Modern Day Icon (cont) • General George Crook wanted to take advantage of Crazy Horse’s military skills. He wanted Crazy Horse to lead these scouts to track all the bands moving towards Canada. • Crazy Horse resisted and word got around that he was going to attempt to escape and re-enter the reservations. • With Crooks orders, they arrested Crazy Horse and he was told the commanding officer wanted to speak to him. He came in peacefully thinking he was coming to a meeting, instead he was grabbed by one of his own men, and bayoneted in the kidneys by a U.S. Army soldier.
Crazy Horse: Modern Day Icon (cont) • He was carried next door to the adjuncts office and put on the floor. Accompanied by his close friend Touch the Clouds and his father, he died painfully in the late hours of September 5th, 1877. • Crazy Horse became a Symbol of Lakota Resistance. • A legendary warrior who fought to the bitter end, who never gave up, who struggled for his people, and gave his life in defense of their way of life.
Warrior over Orator • More people want to know how Native Americans fought and defended against their enemies, rather than how they spoke to them. • I believe that is why there is so much press surrounding great Warrior Leaders such as Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, because they had the characteristics a true leader should have. • We want to know the battles that were fought, and the bravery that every warrior showed when it came to resistance.