Crazy Horse

Topics: Sioux, Lakota people, Battle of the Little Bighorn Pages: 14 (4560 words) Published: April 11, 2013
“Crazy Horse”
The Sioux War wouldn't be the same without Crazy Horse.
A coalition of Native American nations made up the opposition against the expanding American empire across the Continental West. Having already migrated to the Northern Plains, the United States discovered there were gold deposits in the Black Hills of the Dakota, thus sparking a new inspiration to move further West and a new aspiration to renegotiate the terms they settled with the Sioux and Cheyenne.[1] Rising to the top was a young, curly haired boy named Crazy Horse who became iconic as the defense of indigenous populations throughout the land to the encroaching United States. Understanding him is an important part to understanding the convictions of the Sioux War.

The Cheyenne, Lakota, and other allied Indian tribes and their warfare with the U.S. were more than resources, but included a clash of cultures; a way of life and what the land could provide for that way. Reviewing testimony from military officers to Congress describing their accounts, releases from Congressional committees on their perspectives of Crazy Horse and his band, and covering firsthand accounts as well as analysis of his methods of warfare and what brought him to such a position of power will explain him. In order to understand The Sioux War, mapping out the path Crazy Horse followed, knowing the underlying causes of the war, and interpreting his strategies will define what made him a brave, intelligent warrior and how he was central to the Sioux's struggle against America's push to the West coast. The Making of Crazy Horse

In his youth, Crazy Horse was referred to as Curly Hair. At a very young age, he showed promise of being a phenomenal warrior with inherent skills in horse riding, bowman ship, and hunting. These elements were put to the test at thirteen. Taking the family horses to water with his brother Young Little Hawk, they heard a growl. Before them was a grizzly and as he shoved his little brother into the bushes, he hopped onto his pony whopping and charging the bear. The bear turned hide and fled just before they met, and this germinated the small seed that would sprout his legend.[2]

One of Curly Hair's first encounters with the American military was around the age sixteen. Among the ranks of Oglala and Cheyenne tribesmen, they assembled to take on Colonel Sumner's approach along the South Platte River in 1867. The skirmish resulted in a dismal debacle for the Cheyenne, and instilled Crazy Horse with expectation of the American military as a determined and ruthless predator.[3] More that came with the defeat, it revealed that the Black Hills were in the eyes of the Americans and were soon to be under serious threat by them. More than just their physical well-being were vulnerable, the Black Hills were religious.

The spiritualism of the Black Hills the Lakota held can be traced through medicine. Three sources of healing: plant, fungi, and lichen, were used for a variety of ailing for the Native Americans and thus the area was viewed as a source of their livelihood.[4] Moreover, it was a bastion during winter and held religious energy in Rock and Thunder. The American military's advance was seen as more than just potentially taking away their home, but where their heart called home. Curly Hair's heart was hung here and therefore his passion to defend it.[5]

Several years later, additional military experience was developed as Crazy Horse continued to ride with the Cheyenne and Oglalas. In 1861, the Oglalas were engaging in conflict with the Shoshoni Indians. They ambushed a small Shoshoni village, and after stampeding much of their horses off, Crazy Horse was able to engage them in just the manner he preferred. Just as his coming rival Custer, Crazy Horse loved to take chances for prestige, but just for its sake not for materialism or increased power. Crazy Horse fought solo or with a select few men, but with Little Hawk he picked...
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