Crazy Horse (Lakota_: Thaš?ka Witko_, literally "his-is-crazy")

    (ca. 1840– September 5, 1877

    He was the son of an Oglala medicine man of the same name and his Brule wife, the sister of Spotted Tail.

    Chief Crazy Horse was a proud leader of his people in the Lakota-Sioux Indian tribes.  A courageous warrior dedicated to preserving and protecting the Native American’s way of life against the white man, he died at the hands of an American soldier.  He was stabbed in the back, At an early age, Chief Crazy Horse earned a reputation of fearlessness.  Before he was twenty years of age, he stole horses from a feuding tribe and led warriors into battle.  In the late 1870’s, he was one of the leaders of the resistance against the white man at Black Hills in what is now South Dakota. The Sioux refused to relocate to an Indian reservation, so Chief Crazy Horse and his followers fought off the white men successfully.

    In the famous battle of Little Bighorn, Chief Crazy Horse along with Sitting Bull and other Indian tribes defeated General George Armstrong Custer. It was an embarrassing defeat for the white soldiers. Early the following year after Little Bighorn, another white general attacked his people.  An ongoing battle ensued with many Lakota Sioux Indians starving to death.  Eventually, Chief Crazy Horse and the Indians surrendered.

    Even on the reservation, Chief Crazy Horse was a dignified leader, always involved and caring of his people. It was in this particular reservation that he was killed by the American soldier.  He was captured by another general of the army because he was allegedly plotting another revolt.  Thought to be resisting arrest, a soldier used his bayonet and stabbed Chief Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse died that night.

    His father and stepmother were given his body and, following their son’s request, buried him in his homeland—somewhere near Wounded Knee, according to legend.

    Today, the actions of the chief seem heroic and his people still revere his memory of leadership and love of his people.  In fact, the Crazy Horse Memorial, not far from Mount Rushmore is being built in his honor.  The likeness of Chief Crazy Horse has been sculpted from rock and has been an ongoing project since 1948.


    The identity of the soldier responsible for the bayonetting of Crazy Horse is also debatable. Only one eye witness account actually identifies the soldier as Private William Gentles. Historian Walter M. Camp circulated copies of this account to individuals who had been present who questioned the identity of the soldier and provided two additional names. To this day, the identification remains questionable


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