Crazy Horse


When I think back of the stories that I have heard about how
the Native American Indians were driven from their land and
forced to live on the reservations one particular event comes to
my mind. That event is the Battle of the Little Big Horn. It is
one of the few times that the Oglala Sioux made history with them
being the ones who left the battlefield as winners. When stories
are told, or when the media dares to tamper with history, it is
usually the American Indians who are looked upon as the bad guys.
They are portrayed as savages who spent their time raiding wagon
trains and scalping the white settlers just for fun. The media
has lead us to believe that the American government was forced to
take the land from these savage Indians. We should put the blame
where it belongs, on the U.S. Government who lied, cheated, and
stole from the Oglala forcing Crazy Horse, the great war chief,
and many other leaders to surrender their nation in order to save
the lives of their people.
In the nineteenth century the most dominant nation in the
western plains was the Sioux Nation. This nation was divided into
seven tribes: Oglala\'s, Brule\', Minneconjou, Hunkpapa, No Bow,
Two Kettle, and the Blackfoot. Of these tribes they had different
band. The Hunkpatila was one band of the Oglala\'s (Guttmacher
12). One of the greatest war chiefs of all times came from this
band. His name was Crazy Horse.
Crazy Horse was not given this name, on his birth date in
the fall of 1841. He was born of his father, Crazy Horse an
Oglala holy man, and his mother a sister of a Brule\' warrior,
Spotted Tail. As the boy grew older his hair was wavy so his
people gave him the nickname of Curly (Guttmacher 23). He was to
go by Curly until the summer of 1858, after a battle with the
Arapaho\'s. Curly\'s brave charged against the Arapaho\'s led his
father to give Curly the name Crazy Horse. This was the name of
his father and of many fathers before him (Guttmacher 47).
In the 1850\'s, the country where the Sioux Nation lived, was
being invaded by the white settlers. This was upsetting for many
of the tribes. They did not understand the ways of the whites.
When the whites tore into the land with plows and hunted the
sacred buffalo just for the hides this went against the morale
and religious beliefs of the Sioux. The white government began to
build forts. In 1851, Fort Laramie was built along the North
Platte river in Sioux territory (Matthiessen 6).
In 1851, the settlers began complaining of the Indians who
would not allow them to go where they wanted. U.S. Agents drew up
a treaty that required the Indians to give safe passage to the
white settlers along the Oregon Trail. In return the government
promised yearly supplies of guns, ammunition, flour, sugar,
coffee, tobacco, blankets, and bacon. These supplies were to be
provided for fifty-five years. Ten thousand Sioux gathered at the
fort to listen to the words of the white government and to be
showered with gifts. In addition the treaty wanted the Indians to
allow all settlers to cross their lands. They were to divide the
plains into separate territories and each tribe was not to cross
the border of their territory. The treaty also wanted no wars to
be waged on other tribes. They wanted each Indian nation to
choose a leader that would speak for the entire nation. Many
Indians did not like this treaty and only after weeks of bribery
did the whites finally convince a sizable group of leaders to
sign. The Oglala\'s were among those who refused (Matthiessen 6).
This Treaty however did not stop the trouble between the
Indians and the settlers. The Indians however, did not cause
violent trouble, they would perhaps approach a covered wagon to
trade or extract gifts of food. The most daring warrior might
make away with a metal pot or pan but nothing violent like the
books and movies lead us to believe (Matthiessen 7).
The straw that broke the camels back took place on August
17, 1854 when the relations between the Indians and Whites were
shattered. Among the settlers heading west was a group of Mormons
and as they were passing, a few miles south of Fort Laramie, an
Indian stole a cow. The Mormons reported this to Lieutenant Hugh
B. Fleming, the commander of the post. Fleming demanded that the
offender, High Forehead of the Minneconjou, face charges. Chief
Conquering Bear suggested that