The Death of Crazy Horse: A Tragic Episode in Lakota History

The Death of Crazy Horse: A Tragic Episode in Lakota History

The Death of Crazy Horse: A Tragic Episode in Lakota History

The Death of Crazy Horse: A Tragic Episode in Lakota History

Synopsis

On May 7, 1877, less than a year after his overwhelming victory at Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse, the charismatic Oglala Sioux whose name had become the epitome of Indian resistance to white encroachment, surrendered at Camp Robinson, Nebraska Territory. A young man of slight build and quiet ways dramatically at odds with his extraordinary influence and stature, he was viewed by the military as a potential civil leader of all Sioux. What happened between May 15, 1877, when, anticipating a visit to the president in Washington, Crazy Horse was sworn in as a noncommissioned officer in the U. S. military, and September 5, 1877, when he was bayoneted in the back by a military guard, is the stuff of rumor and legend. And yet, reliable accounts of the last days of Crazy Horse do exist. The interviews collected in this book describe in stark detail the surrender and death of Crazy Horse from the perspective of Indian and mixed-blood contemporaries. Supplemented by military orders, telegrams, and reports, and rounded out with dispatches from numerous newspaper correspondents, these eyewitness accounts make up a unique firsthand view of the events and circumstances surrounding this tragic episode in Lakota history.

Excerpt

Although the tragic death of Crazy Horse on September 5,1877, continues to captivate the general interest, the published works on his life have been sporadic and few. Of the biographical treatments, only two works stand out among the others. First and foremost is the biography by Mari Sandoz, Crazy Horse: the Strange Man of the Oglalas (1942). Although some scholars have classified her work as an historical novel containing contrived dialogue, the fact remains that the biography was based on her fieldwork among the Lakotas in the 1930s. Motivated by a driving compassion for her subject, Sandoz told a stirring story which touched the emotions of all her readers.

The second biography which should receive mention is Crazy Horse and Custer by Stephen Ambrose (1975). The uniqueness of this volume lies in the fact that it explores the parallel lives of two warriors, each representing a different and opposing culture, whose fates were sealed forever at the battle of the Little Bighorn.

Because the writing of history must rest by necessity on primary evidence, the publication of such data is crucial in the accurate understanding of our history. In addition to the . . .

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