Crazy Horse was a Lakota warrior who was famous for many of his raids against the white men who invaded the native people's land. He was the son of Crazy Horse and Rattling Blanket Woman. Before his thirteenth birthday, Crazy Horse was already stealing horses from rival tribes, proving his merit as a warrior.
Well known for his tenacity and barbarity in the throes of battle, Crazy Horse was revered as a trailblazing leader among his American Indian comrades. Born along the Republican River around 1845, Crazy Horse died young, living barely thirty three years before being killed at Fort Robinson in Nebraska in 1877. Still, the legend of Crazy Horse persists even today, that of a man committed to preserving the very tenets upon which the Lakota people thrived.
Crazy Horse was a renowned warrior even in his youth. By age thirteen, he was stealing horses from the Crow Indians, and was the leader of war parties long before age twenty. One of his most famous wars was the 1865-68 war, where he fought as part of the party led by Chief Red Cloud of the Oglala tribe. There Crazy Horse played a pivotal role in defeating Fetterman's troops in 1867 during the battle at Fort Phil Kearny.
Known as a leader and ferociously cunning foe in times of battle, Crazy Horse was also a staunch protector of the traditions that made up the Lakota way of life. He fiercely battled American attempts to encroach upon the land held by the Lakota, especially in the days following the drafting of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. In fact, he helped lead an attack on a survey party sent into the Black Hills by General Custer in 1873.
Crazy Horse led the resistance effort when the War Department remanded all of the Lakota back onto their reservations in 1876. He amassed a brigade of twelve hundred Cheyenne and Oglala warriors, and thwarted General Crook's efforts to advance on Sitting Bull's territory at Little Bighorn. He later combined forces with Sitting Bull to destroy General Custer's Seventh Cavalry in the battle known today as Custer's Last Stand. Crazy Horse would hold his position in the area well into May 1877, when he finally yielded to the combined pressures of the U.S. military and the decrease in the buffalo population.
To the end, Crazy Horse held to his traditions, and remained staunch in his beliefs and fighting spirit. It cost him his life. In September 1877, Crazy Horse left the reservation without permission to take his ill wife home to be with her family. He was ordered arrested out of fear that he might be plotting an uprising or revolution. While he didn't resist at first, Crazy Horse began to fight as he recognized that he was being taken to prison. During the struggle, a soldier killed him with a bayonet.
The Crazy Horse Memorial was dedicated on June 3, 1948. The Memorial, which exists as a tribute to the culture and tradition of the American Indians, was created by using explosives to shape and etch the face of a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Crazy Horse Memorial is the largest mountain carving in the world. Work on the memorial is ongoing; the face of Crazy Horse was unveiled during the memorial's 50th anniversary celebration. This memorial will ensure that the legend of Crazy Horse lives on for generations to come.