Crazy Horse, a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota
Crazy Horse (c. 1842 – September 5, 1877) was a Native American war leader of the Oglala Lakota.
- He took up arms against the United States Federal government to fight against encroachments on the territories and for the way of life of the Lakota people, including acting as a decoy in the Fetterman Massacre and leading a war party to victory at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June 1876.
- Four months after surrendering to U.S. troops under General George Crook in May 1877, Crazy Horse was fatally wounded by a bayonet-wielding military guard, while allegedly resisting imprisonment at Camp Robinson in present-day Nebraska.
- He ranks among the most notable and iconic of Native American tribal members and was honored by the U.S. Postal Service in 1982 with a 13¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.
Black Elk, a contemporary and cousin of Crazy Horse, related the vision in Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, from talks with John G. Neihardt.
When I was a man, my father told me something about that vision. Of course he did not know all of it; but he said that Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world. He was on his horse in that world, and the horse and himself on it and the trees and the grass and the stones and everything were made of spirit, and nothing was hard, and everything seemed to float. His horse was standing still there, and yet it danced around like a horse made only of shadow, and that is how he got his name, which does not mean that his horse was crazy or wild, but that in his vision it danced around in that queer way.
It was this vision that gave him his great power, for when he went into a fight, he had only to think of that world to be in it again, so that he could go through anything and not be hurt.
- Until he was killed at the Soldiers’ Town on White River, he was wounded only twice, once by accident and both times by some one of his own people when he was not expecting trouble and was not thinking; never by an enemy.
- Crazy Horse received a black stone from a medicine man named Horn Chips to protect his horse, a black-and-white pinto he named Inyan (rock or stone).
- He placed the stone behind the horse’s ear so that the medicine from his vision quest and Horn Chips would combine—he and his horse would be one in battle.
Words of Wisdom
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.