Crazy Horse

Topics: Sioux, Lakota people, Crazy Horse Pages: 5 (2034 words) Published: September 14, 2011
Crazy Horse (Curly) was definitely a hero not only to his tribe but to many other people. Crazy Horse was groomed according to tribal customs. At this time, the Sioux prided themselves on the training and development of their sons and daughters, and they did not overlook a step in that development. Before he was 12, Curly had killed a buffalo and received his own horse. He witnessed the shooting of an old Sioux chief, Conquering Bear, by white soldiers on the Oregon trail. Seeing this dying chief set off everything in Crazy Horse’s head. He knew what he wanted to do. On August 19, 1854, he was in Conquering Bears’ camp in northern Wyoming when that Brulè leader was killed in the Grattan Massacre, a bloody dispute between Indians and soldiers over a butchered cow. The way of the warrior was a societal role predetermined for males in traditional Lakota life. Following the Grattan Massacre, Crazy Horse, like other young men, set out alone on a Vision Quest. He was not disappointed at all. He had a vivid dream of a rider in a storm on horseback, with long, unbraided hair, a small stone in his ear, zigzag lightning decorating his cheek, and hail dotting his body. People clutched at the rider, but could not hold him. The storm declined, and a red-backed hawk flew over the rider’s head. When he reported the dream to his father, and the medicine man was consulted, the latter interpreted it as a sign of his son’s future greatness in battle. 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.” He pretty much lived by this quote throughout his life. The following year, he witnessed the destruction of Sioux tepees and belongings by soldiers during General William Harney’s punitive crusade through Sioux territory along the Oregon trail. During his years, he experienced several more exposures about white people, coming from incidents involving the U.S. Army. “Then the Lakotas prefer its enemies! I set my face against this treaty. This is our country... the sacred land of our fathers. I will fight for it... and I will die for it!” One such incident involved a retaliation in which the army wiped out most of an unsuspecting Lakota village, killing women and children as well as warriors. At the age of 16, he joined a war party against the Gros Ventres, an offshoot of the Arapaho. He rode well in the front of the army, and immediately established his bravery by closely following Hump, one of the best Sioux warriors — drawing the enemy's fire and circling around their advance guard. Suddenly Hump's horse was shot from under him, and a bunch of warriors converged to kill or capture him while down. Nevertheless, during a shower of arrows, the boy jumped from his horse, helped his friend into his own saddle, jumped up behind him, and carried him off to safety the enemy rode after them. Father Crazy Horse took the name, Worm, after passing his name to his courageous son when he was about 18 years old. His name was Curly the whole time up until now. For the first time, at this age, Crazy Horse rode as an adult warrior in a raid on Crows. Like the rider in his dream, he wore his hair free, a stone earring, and a headdress with a red hawk feather in it. His face was painted with a lightning bolt, and his body bore hail-like dots. The raid was successful, but Crazy Horse had gotten a wound in the leg. According to his father's interpretation, he had taken two scalps (unlike the rider in the vision). The warrior became further known to many of the Sioux bands for his courage in the War for the Bozeman Trail of 1866-68 under the Oglala Chief Red Cloud, when the army began to build a road in Powder River country from the Oregon Trail to the goldfields of Montana. He was one of the young chiefs, along with the Miniconjou Hump and the Hunkpapas Chief Gall, and Chief Rain-In-The-Face, who used decoy strategies against the soldiers. Near Fort Phil Kearny, in what is now north central Wyoming,...
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