Who Was Crazy Horse And What Did He Do?

One of the most recognizable names when people talk about American Indians is an individual by the name of Crazy Horse. He was actually a leader in a tribe called the Oglala Lakota. He is known for being very diverse in his actions, especially when it came to opposing the federal government of the United States. He was a very brave individual that later surrendered to the Americans and was subdued by a wound caused by a bayonet. Here is a little overview of what Crazy Horse actually did during his life and why he is so famous.

Early Life Of Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse was born in the 1800s. There is some debate on that exact date. Many people agree that it was around 1842. A medicine man, which is a spiritual leader within tribes of the American Indians, played a role in his famous name. Born during a year where 100 horses were stolen, he was designated with this name. However, his birth name was Cha-O-Ha, which simply means he who is amidst the trees.

The Family Of Crazy Horse

His father was also called Crazy Horse, a name that he gave to his son. His father changed his name to a word that means worm. His mother died early when he was just four years of age. Her name was Rattling Blanket Woman. His relationship with his father was strong, and they decided to go on a vision quest to discover what he was to do with his life.

The Visions Of Crazy Horse

What is well-known in the culture of American Indians is that they were often guided by their visions. Crazy Horse lived with his younger brother at a Lakota camp where American soldiers came in looking for a thief and were subsequently slaughtered. Crazy Horse, also called Curly by his mother, went on a vision quest with his father, going all the way to Sylvan Lake in South Dakota. This is something that was discussed by his cousin Black Elk who was also known for his visions. He went on a vision quest where he first went south, a reference to where the departed souls and up after death. In the vision, he was shown how to do his warpaint, mimicking a lightning bolt on the left side of his face that his father also wore. The vision was interpreted to show that he would become a great warrior, and that is actually what he became, a protector of his people.

Last Sun Dance Of 1877

This is an event that is still highly regarded in Lakota history. It was a dance that was held in honor of Crazy Horse. He had played a vital role in the victory of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Although he was the honored guest, he did not participate in the festivities. There were cousins that attended who actually sacrificed flesh and blood in his name. However, despite all of this, it led to deep suspicions about Crazy Horse from the American perspective which led to his eventual demise.

At the end of his life, he formally surrendered to Lieut. Clark at Fort Robinson in Nebraska. This subsequently led to misinterpretations of words that he had said which led them to believe that he still wanted to kill the Americans. There was a struggle at one point where he was stabbed by a bayonet, and despite the efforts of an assistant post surgeon, he died from the wounds. However, he left behind a legacy and legend that still lives today in the stories that are told about Crazy Horse.

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