Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Special Gives a Human Face to a Legend Crazy Horse Fought Whites and His People, Too

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Special Gives a Human Face to a Legend Crazy Horse Fought Whites and His People, Too

Article excerpt

THE MOST famous battle involving Sioux warrior Crazy Horse was at the Little Big Horn.

But that skirmish, which resulted in the massacre of Custer and the Seventh Cavalry, was far from being Crazy Horse's biggest battle.

That came with his own people.

"Crazy Horse did not accept the fact that the old way of life was ending," said Michael Greyeyes, who plays the great chief in "Crazy Horse," TNT's latest Native American series entry, at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Crazy Horse became one of the Sioux's most respected leaders.

But as the number of white settlers and soldiers rapidly increased, he found himself at odds with many of his own people.

They had decided it was time to give in to the white man's ways. Crazy Horse did not.

Opposing Crazy Horse was another highly regarded Sioux leader Red Cloud (played by Wes Studi).

"I have been to visit the great white father," Red Cloud tells Crazy Horse.

"I have seen their cities and their weapons. They can destroy us."

Still, Crazy Horse refuses to negotiate for peace with the whites. His decision led to more pain and suffering for his people.

"Wes and I talked about both characters, and we decided that both were patriots for their people," Greyeyes said during a recent telephone conversation.

"But they chose different paths to help their people. Crazy Horse just didn't believe what Red Cloud was saying."

The time devoted to the conflict between Crazy Horse and Red Cloud is one of the many reasons Greyeyes is so fond of Turner's Native American series.

"They do so much about their personal lives, much of it not widely known. They humanize the characters.

"And I think they show us that history was much more complex. In movies like this, it's hard to find a bad guy.

"There were people on both sides whose personalities and ideas clashed. There are a lot of gray areas in history."

While the Little Big Horn became a vivid piece of American history, at the time, the confrontation was no bigger than any other for Crazy Horse.

"It was simply one part of the landscape of Crazy Horse's life," Greyeyes said. "His village had been attacked and he responded. He did not know that it was a historic moment."

Greyeyes, the son of Cree parents, learned a lot about Native American history during his childhood. …

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