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), L. McMurtry (1998), and K. M. Bray (2006); T. Powers, The Killing of Crazy Horse (2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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