Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse, d. 1877, war chief of the Oglala Sioux. He was a prominent leader in the Sioux resistance to white encroachment in the mineral-rich Black Hills. 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 Crook on the Rosebud River (June 17). He joined Sitting Bull and Gall in defeating George Armstrong Custer at the battle of the Little Bighorn (June 25). In Jan., 1877, Gen. Nelson Miles 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 Memorial, depicting the chief mounted on horseback, has been under construction since 1948.

See biographies by M. Sandoz (1942, repr. 2004), E. A. Brininstool (1949), and L. McMurtry (1998).

(born 1842?, near present-day Rapid City, S.D., U.S.—died Sept. 5, 1877, Fort Robinson, Neb.) Oglala Sioux Indian chief. Refusing to abide by an 1868 treaty granting the Sioux a large reservation in the Black Hills, Crazy Horse led his warriors in continued raids against enemy tribes as well as against whites. In 1876 he joined with Cheyenne forces in a surprise attack against Gen. George Crook in southern Montana, forcing Crook's withdrawal. Crazy Horse then united with Chief Sitting Bull for the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where he helped annihilate Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's troops. In 1877, his tribe weakened by cold and hunger, Crazy Horse surrendered to Crook; removed to a military outpost in Nebraska, he was killed in a scuffle with soldiers.

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