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Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse was one of the most active guerrilla warriors. The expansive tactics of the U.S. government gave a start to many battles with the Native Americans. The opposition of the Sioux tribe to the U.S. expansion resulted in the Sioux Wars because Plain tribes were less bellicose. Lasting for around forty years, the Sioux Wars were later headed by Crazy Horse among the other war chiefs. Known as an uncompromising leader and a smart strategist, Crazy Horse won many battles, which earned him a significant place in the history for bravery and visionary leadership.

Crazy Horse was born around 1842 in South Dakota in the Lakota Sioux tribe. Originally, Crazy Horse was named Tashunka Witco. When he killed his first buffalo, his father gave him his own name, Crazy Horse. Having Brule Lakota chief Spotted Tail as his uncle, Crazy Horse early witnessed injustice from the U.S. soldiers in regard to the Native American tribes and villages. In his childhood, he saw that the U.S. soldiers attacked his tribe’s chiefs who went into negotiations. In response, the tribe’s warriors fought with the soldiers. On another occasion, Crazy Horse returned to his village from the last period of absence to find it burned, and all villagers were slaughtered. Thus, Crazy Horse personally witnessed many times when the U.S. Army was unjust to the point of extreme violence and cruelty (American Indian Relief Council, n.d.).

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As a child, Crazy Horse learnt to distrust Anglo-Saxons, because their response to the Native Americans’ actions was often disproportionate. For example, it is believed that the First Sioux War was started when Lakota Chief Conquering Bear refused to give away the Indian warrior to Lieutenant John Grattan for killing a white settle’s cow. In response, the U.S. soldiers killed the chief, and consequently, they were killed by the demised chief’s warriors. It was called The Grattan Massacre (A&E Television Networks, n.d.).

When Crazy Horse was young, he had a vision of a young guy, riding a horse amidst a rainstorm. In his vision, the young guy was rushing through hailstorm against a backdrop of lightning. A hawk was hovering over him. Eventually, the decoration of zigzags and hailstones became Crazy Horse’s war paint. He understood the vision as a sign of his significant place in the Native American history (American Indian Relief Council, n.d.).

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At the time when Crazy Horse was born and was growing up, the Lakota tribe’s power was at its height. However, in the 1850s, the U.S. government began its expansion, and white settlers raided the Lakota lands. When gold was found in the Black Hills, belonging to the Lakota, the U.S. government did not prevent white settlers from robbing the Lakota lands. In fact, “the government issued an order requiring that the Sioux bands be required to stay on the Great Sioux Reservation” (American Indian Relief Council, n.d.). It spurred Crazy Horse to fight against the expansionist policy of the U.S. government.

However, Native Americans could not resist the U.S. expansionist policy for too long. When the U.S. government began burning Native American lands, indigenous tribes were left without food and could not continue their accustomed way of living. Being unable to hunt buffalo and gather plants, Native Americans of the Great Plains had to give up. Some went to the reservation, some went to Canada, while Crazy Horse refused. When he and his warriors had no longer food supplies, they surrendered at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. Crazy Horse left Fort Robinson to take his wife to her relatives, and for that he was arrested. When under arrest, Crazy Horse must have disobeyed the convoy officers somehow and was bayoneted. He died from the wounds on September 5, 1877 (American Indian Relief Council, n.d.).

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Why Does Crazy Horse Hold a Significant Place in History?

Crazy Horse took part in many important battles. He holds a significant place in the history of the United States, because his command was wise and smart. In fact, its warfare tactics were so successful that they have been studied later on (Lee, 2014).

The Battle at the Little Bighorn River is believed to be the Indian’s greatest victory over the U.S. Army. Together with Hunkpapa Lakota Chief Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse resisted the U.S. government order to reside only within the reservation. In 1976, it resulted in a standoff on the Little Bighorn River. Against General George Crook and his regiment, Crazy Horse had 1,200 warriors. They defeated the attack and their position was further established by even greater victory over Lieutenant Colonel George Custer (A&E Television Networks, n.d.).

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How Is Crazy Horse Seen by Mainstream US?

Whereas, nowadays, the mainstream U.S. history is under constant reevaluation for indigenous tribes. There used to be times when Native American chiefs were an epitome of the U.S. enemies. The country is built on the land once dispossessed from indigenous tribes. In order to justify the treatment given to Native Americans, the mainstream US culture dehumanized them. It used to regard Native Americans as dangerous and ignorant people. Although Crazy Horse was viewed as a powerful leader and insightful chief who was able to win important battles from the U.S. Army, the American government feared him and wanted him to be assimilated into the American mainstream as well as all other Native Americans.

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How Crazy Horse Seen by Their Native Culture?

Crazy Horse is a legend for Native Americans. He is known to have a vision after which he adopted his war dress and understood his important role in the Native American history. He gave his life to protect the Sioux territories and the way of living common to indigenous tribes. Seeing the expansion of the U.S. government as well as the inoculation of the U.S. culture and the way of living, Crazy Horse fought to prevent it for Native Americans. Seeing how the Anglo-Saxon influence affects Native Americans, Crazy Horse wanted to give indigenous traditions back to his people. Weakened by illnesses brought by white people and assimilation attempts, Native Americans could protect themselves only by preserving their traditions and customs. Even when the other tribes surrendered, Crazy Horse persisted in his opposition to the U.S. expansion policies.

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What Is the Lasting Impact of Crazy Horse’s Contributions?

Crazy Horse is known as a brave warrior and a clever strategist. The most remembered battle under his command was the Battle of the Little Bighorn. What is the most impactful about Crazy Horse, in this regard, is that he did not intend to launch an offensive. On the whole, he was a composed and calm person who did not rush into battle headlong. His priority was to lead his people to safety. However, Custer’s people stymied Crazy Horse and his warriors, and they had to fight back. Therefore, Crazy Horse is an example of an individual who is clever and persistent and fights back for his people. As a person of great integrity, Crazy Horse wanted to hold the U.S. government accountant for its promises. In his turn, he never signed any papers and never agreed to have a peace treaty with the United States.

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Crazy Horse is known as one of the greatest Native American war chiefs. His victory over Custer has been studied as an example of a clever strategy and tactics. Many people like and admire Crazy Horse due to his resilience and dedicated work for the benefit of his community and people, which won over him a place in the history of the United States.

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