Chief Crazy Horse

Pencil Portrait of Chief Crazy Horse by Bob Schmidt. Original Size 11"x 14" Bristol Strathmore Vellum 100 lb Paper. "Crazy Horse would always be the first one into battle - and Crazy Horse would always be the last one to leave."-Moses Brings Plenty, Lakota Tribesman/Firearms Expert. Crazy Horse, the fierce Lakota warrior of the 1870's whose brilliant battle plans and fearless offensives annihilated General Custer at Little Big Horn; Crazy Horse (Tasunka Witko) was a chief of the Oglala Lakota, and one of the principle leaders of the Native American force during the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Born c. 1840, Crazy Horse grew up as a settler. His military career began when he gained his reputation as a fearsome, prominent Lakota war leader after feats made in raids against enemy tribes of the Lakota, such as the Crow and Shoshone Indians. At age 13, Crazy Horse saw a vision of himself painted in falling hail and charging into battle immune to arrows and bullets. This mystical vision made many Lakota believe that Crazy Horse was superhuman and divine. This vision turned out to be true; according to Lakota accounts, Crazy Horse was never harmed in battle by projectiles. Crazy Horse, like other Native Americans of his time, became a warrior very early in his life. While much of his history is unknown at this time (due to Lakota having no written language) Crazy Horse spent much of his time fighting on a region known as the 'Red Road' due to the frequency of battles and attacks. Tensions between Northern Plain Native Americans and the USA grew as Whites slaughtered bison for their hide or just for sport. This massive hunt against the bison nearly led to their extinction, their populations being considered endangered for about 100 years. The Lakota, like many tribes, religiously treasured the bison due to the animal providing so many resources (sinew can be used as bow string, bones used for weapons, fur for clothing, skin for leather and shields, horns for cups and bugles, hooves for glue, and their meat was the primary diet of the Lakota). On September 3, 1855, the US Army slaughtered 86 Lakotans in the Blue Water massacre. When Crazy Horse discovered the carnage, his rage and hatred of white men motivated him to fight. When the Lakota and their allies, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes began being pressured by the U.S. Government to surrender their lands to whites, Crazy Horse would lead thousands of warriors against U.S. forces in Red Cloud's (or the Bozeman) War and the Black Hills War. He fought in such infamous battles as the Fetterman Massacre, the Battle of the Rosebud, and the Wagon Box Fight. His most famous battle, however, was the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Crazy Horse during which Crazy Horse is said to have rode the closest to the U.S. Cavalry, but was never injured. After his most famous battle however, Crazy Horse was shot in the face due to a dispute over a woman and thus disgraced. Stepping down as chief, he watched his tribe fall to disease (including his own daughter) and submit to the Indian Reservations. In 1877, Crazy Horse surrendered to U.S. authorities in Nebraska. Tensions arose when he was ordered to capture the Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph, and he was killed by a bayonet while attempting to escape arrest. A memorial statue is being carved in the Black Hills, but it remains incomplete. (source

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Dale Newman 09 Aug 2017

Very Nice