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 Crazy Horse

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Crazy Horse

  • Birth 1842 South Dakota, USA
  • Death 5 Sep 1877 Nebraska, USA
  • Burial Crawford, Dawes County, Nebraska, USA
  • Plot Specific location in undiclosed, somewhere in the vicinity of Camp Robinson
  • Memorial ID 5139

Oglala (Lakota) Sioux Indian War Leader. Born Tashunca-uitco, even as a young man he was a legendary warrior. He stole horses from the Crow Indians before he was thirteen, and led his first war party before turning twenty. He fought in the 1865 to 1868 war led by the Oglala chief Red Cloud against American settlers in Wyoming, and played a key role in destroying Captain William J. Fetterman's 80-man patrol at Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming in 1867. Crazy Horse earned his reputation among the Lakota not only by his skill and daring in battle but also by his fierce determination to preserve his people's traditional way of life. He refused, for example, to allow any photographs to be taken of him. He fought to prevent American encroachment on Lakota lands following the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, helping to attack a surveying party sent into the Black Hills by General George Armstrong Custer in 1873. When the War Department ordered all Lakota bands onto their reservations in 1876, Crazy Horse became a leader of the resistance. Closely allied to the Cheyenne through his first marriage to a Cheyenne woman, he gathered a force of 1,200 Oglala and Cheyenne at his village and turned back General George Crook on June 17, 1876, as Crook tried to advance up Rosebud Creek toward Sitting Bull's encampment on the Little Bighorn. After this victory, Crazy Horse joined forces with Sitting Bull and on June 25 led his band in the counterattack that destroyed Custer's Seventh Cavalry, flanking the Americans from the north and west as Hunkpapa warriors led by chief Gall charged from the south and east. Following the Lakota victory at the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull and Gall retreated to Canada, but Crazy Horse remained to battle General Nelson Miles as he pursued the Lakota and their allies relentlessly throughout the winter of 1876-77. This constant military harassment and the decline of the buffalo population eventually forced Crazy Horse to surrender on May 6, 1877; except for Gall and Sitting Bull, he was the last important chief to yield. While Sitting Bull was pursued into Canada, Crazy Horse and the Cheyennes wandered about, comparatively undisturbed, during the rest of that year, until in the winter the army surprised the Cheyennes, but did not do them much harm, possibly because they knew that Crazy Horse was not far off. His name was held in wholesome respect. From time to time, delegations of friendly Indians were sent to him, to urge him to come in to the reservation, promising a full hearing and fair treatment. For some time he held out, but the rapid disappearance of the buffalo, their only means of support, probably weighed with him more than any other influence. In July, 1877, he was finally prevailed upon to come in to Fort Robinson, Nebraska, with several thousand Indians, most of them Ogallala and Minneconwoju Sioux, on the distinct understanding that the government would hear and adjust their grievances. At this juncture General Crook proclaimed Spotted Tail, who had rendered much valuable service to the army, head chief of the Sioux, which was resented by many. The attention paid Crazy Horse was offensive to Spotted Tail and the Indian scouts, who planned a conspiracy against him. They reported to General Crook that the young chief would murder him at the next council, and stampede the Sioux into another war. He was urged not to attend the council and did not, but sent another officer to represent him. Meanwhile the friends of Crazy Horse discovered the plot and told him of it. His reply was, "Only cowards are murderers." His wife was critically ill at the time, and he decided to take her to her parents at Spotted Tail agency. Even in defeat Crazy Horse remained an independent spirit, and in September 1877, when he left the reservation without authorization, to take his sick wife to her parents, General George Crook ordered him arrested, fearing that he was plotting a return to battle. Crazy Horse did not resist arrest at first, but when he realized that he was being led to a guardhouse, he began to struggle, and while his arms were held by one of the arresting officers, a soldier ran him through with a bayonet.

Bio by: K M


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 15 Apr 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5139
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Crazy Horse (1842–5 Sep 1877), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5139, citing Fort Robinson Cemetery, Crawford, Dawes County, Nebraska, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .