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Snow Owl, July 2003

Source of picture unknown at this time

       I have seen this picture being said to be Crazy Horse at a younger age in many places on the web. Now, it is well known that Chief Crazy Horse had a distinct aversion to having his picture taken. So, you make up your own minds could this be him at a younger age afore such aversion came about; or is this a picture that somehow has been foisted off as being him down through the years? If this picture happens to be one of Charles A. Eastmans works, then in all probability it is Crazy Horse. Snow Owl

     A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky ... we preferred hunting to a life of idleness on our reservations. At times we did not get enough to eat and we were not allowed to hunt. All we wanted was peace and to be left alone. Soldiers came and destroyed our villages. Then Long Hair (Custer) came...They say we massacred him, but he would have done the same to us. Our first impulse was to escape but we were so hemmed in we had to fight. Crazy Horse, as remembered by Charles A. Eastman

     Crazy Horse, Tashunkewitko of the western Sioux, was born about 1845. Killed at Fort Robinson , Nebraska in 1877, he lived barely 33 years. As a boy, Crazy Horse seldom saw white men. Sioux parents took pride in teaching their sons and daughters according to tribal customs. Often giving food to the needy, they exemplified self-denial for the general good. They believed in generosity, courage, and self-denial, not a life based upon commerce and gain. One winter when Crazy Horse was only five, the tribe was short of food. His father, a tireless hunter, finally brought in two antelope. The little boy rode his pony through the camp, telling the old folks to come for meat, without first asking his parents. Later when Crazy Horse asked for food, his mother said, "You must be brave and live up to your generous reputation."

     When he was 16, Crazy Horse joined his first war party. He followed a Sioux warrior, named Hump, near the front of the charge. When Hump's horse was shot from under him, Crazy Horse leaped from his horse, helped him up in the saddle, and carried him to safety with the enemy in hot pursuit. Hump, then at the height of his own career, pronounced Crazy Horse the coming warrior of the Teton Sioux.

     Hump and Crazy Horse became close friends, in spite of the difference in age. Men called them "the grizzly and his cub." Again and again the pair saved the day in skirmishes with neighboring tribes.

     Early in the year 1876, word came from Sitting Bull that all the roving bands would converge in Montana for summer feasts and conferences. Conflicting rumors came from the reservation -- Either the U.S.Army would fight the Sioux to a finish or another commission would be sent out to treat with them. The Indians came together forming a series of encampments stretching a few miles. In June, scouts reported the advance of troops under General Crook. Crazy Horse was sent with 700 men to attack. They exchanged shots with some Crow scouts, who fled back to Crook's camp to warn him. Again and again Crazy Horse charged with his bravest men in an attempt to bring the troops into the open. He returned to camp disappointed; Crook later retreated. If Crook had kept on as ordered with his 1000 regulars and 200 Crow and Shoshone scouts, he would have intercepted Custer. The war with the Sioux would have ended right there. Instead, he fell back upon Fort Meade , eating his horses on the way, in a country full of game, for fear of Crazy Horse and his braves!

     While Sitting Bull was pursued into Canada , the Cheyennes were undisturbed until winter, when the army surprised them. Crazy Horse was not far off. His name was held in respect. Delegations of friendly Indians were sent to him, to urge him to come in to the reservation, promising a full hearing and fair treatment.
For some time he held out. The rapid disappearance of the buffalo meant near starvation for his people. In July 1877, he was convinced to come to Fort Robinson with several thousand Ogallala and Minne-conwoju Sioux, with the distinct understanding that the government would hear grievances.

     General Crook and some Indian scouts planned a conspiracy against Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse decided to take his critically ill wife to her parents, whereupon his enemies circulated the story that he had fled. After a party of scouts threatened him, he went to call on agent Captain Lea, accompanied by an imposing escort of warriors on horseback.

     The captain urged him to report at army headquarters to explain himself and correct false rumors, and furnished him with a wagon and escort. Some said that he went back under arrest, but others say he went of his own accord, either suspecting no treachery or determined to defy it.

      When he reached the military camp, he was unarmed except for the knife carried for ordinary uses by women and men. He walked toward the guardhouse, when his cousin suddenly turned back exclaiming, "They will put you in prison!"

     "Another white man's trick! Let me die fighting!" cried Crazy Horse. He tried to free himself and draw his knife, but both arms were held fast. While he struggled, a soldier thrust him through with his bayonet from behind. His old father sang the death song over him and afterward carried away the body. They hid it somewhere in the Bad Lands, his resting place to this day.


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