Crazy Horse

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Related to Crazy Horse (person): Sitting Bull, Chief Red Cloud

Crazy Horse,

d. 1877, war chief of the Oglala SiouxSioux
or Dakota,
confederation of Native North American tribes, the dominant group of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock, which is divided into several separate branches (see Native American languages).
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. He was a prominent leader in the Sioux resistance to white encroachment in the mineral-rich Black HillsBlack Hills,
rugged mountains, c.6,000 sq mi (15,540 sq km), enclosed by the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne rivers, SW S.Dak. and NE Wyo., and rising c.2,500 ft (760 m) above the surrounding Great Plains; Harney Peak, 7,242 ft (2,207 m) above sea level, is the highest point in the
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. When Crazy Horse and his people refused to go on a reservation, troops attacked (Mar. 17, 1876) their camp on Powder River. Crazy Horse was victorious in that battle as well as in his encounter with Gen. George CrookCrook, George,
1828–90, U.S. general, b. near Dayton, Ohio, grad. West Point, 1852. During the Civil War, Crook commanded a regiment of Ohio volunteers as colonel.
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 on the Rosebud River (June 17). He joined Sitting BullSitting Bull,
c.1831–1890, Native American chief and spiritual leader, Sioux leader in the battle of the Little Bighorn. He rose to prominence in the Sioux warfare against the whites and the resistance of the Native Americans under his leadership to forced settlement on a
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 and GallGall
, c.1840–1894, war chief of the Sioux, b. South Dakota. He refused to accept the treaty of 1868 (by which he would have been confined to a reservation), joined Sitting Bull and other dissident chiefs, and was the chief military lieutenant of Sitting Bull in the great
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 in defeating George Armstrong CusterCuster, George Armstrong,
1839–76, American army officer, b. New Rumley, Ohio, grad. West Point, 1861. Civil War Service

Custer fought in the Civil War at the first battle of Bull Run, distinguished himself as a member of General McClellan's staff in the
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 at the battle of the Little Bighorn (June 25). In Jan., 1877, Gen. Nelson MilesMiles, Nelson Appleton,
1839–1925, American army officer, b. near Westminster, Mass. In 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, he left his job in a Boston store and organized a company of volunteers.
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 attacked his camp, and Crazy Horse and his followers spent the rest of that winter in a state of near starvation. Numbering about 1,000, they surrendered at the Red Cloud agency in May. Imprisoned because he was rumored to be planning a revolt, Crazy Horse was killed while reportedly attempting to escape. His bravery and skill were generally acknowledged, and he is revered by the Sioux as their greatest leader. Near Custer, S.Dak., the Crazy Horse MemorialCrazy Horse Memorial,
memorial to the Oglala Souix chief Crazy Horse and Native Americans, under construction at Thunderhead Mt., near Custer, S.Dak., in the Black Hills.
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, depicting the chief mounted on horseback, has been under construction since 1948.


See biographies by M. Sandoz (1942, repr. 2004), E. A. Brininstool (1949), L. McMurtry (1998), and K. M. Bray (2006); T. Powers, The Killing of Crazy Horse (2010).

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Crazy Horse

(1842–1877) Indian chief who led Sioux against the white men in the northern plains. [Am. Hist.: EB, III: 225–226]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Crazy Horse

Indian name Ta-Sunko-Witko. ?1849--77, Sioux Indian chief, remembered for his attempts to resist White settlement in Sioux territory
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

Crazy Horse (b. Tashunka Witco)

(?1842–77) Oglala Sioux chief; born near the Black Hills near present-day South Dakota. His mother was a sister of Brulé Chief Spotted Tail and his father was an Oglala medicine man who often spoke of the need for a leader to unite the Sioux and drive out the whites. As a youth, Crazy Horse was solitary and meditative—the Sioux called him "Strange One"—but also an accomplished hunter and fighter. He participated in all of the major Sioux actions to protect the Black Hills against white intrusion, believing himself immune from battle injury. In 1865 he was selected as a "shirt wearer," or protector of the people, in recognition of his valor and achievement and he took part in the main battles of Red Cloud's war (1865–68). In 1876 he was named supreme war and peace chief of the Oglalas, uniting in struggle most of the Sioux still free. In January 1876 he led the Sioux and Cheyenne to victory at the battle of Rosebud; that July he led these same tribes' warriors in defeating Custer's forces at Little Bighorn. Pursued by U.S. forces, with his band of some 1,000 facing starvation, he surrendered in May 1877. White fear and Indian jealousy led to intrigue against him and finally to his death at the hands of a U.S. soldier—allegedly while resisting being forced into a jail cell. He is regarded as a symbol of the heroic resistance of the Sioux and as their greatest leader, and a gigantic figure of Crazy Horse has been sculptured (by Korczak Ziolkowski) out of mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.