Friday, August 27, 2010

Q&A: In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

I know Leonard Peltier. I respect this man. When he lived here with us, he waked in the morning, he took part in spiritual ceremonies. He was sincerely committed to the land, to our unborn generations, and to the hope that all tribes will be united. He worked for his people -- not just for AIM, but for everyone who believes in the spiritual way. - Chief Leonard Crow Dog

Why "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse"?

Crazy Horse (Tashunka Witko), known among his People as a farsighted chief, is said to have stated his strong ties to his people and the land he loved by the quote, “One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk.” This is a quote still in use today with regard to the stewardship by the Lakota of the sacred Black Hills.

Consider the following:

“Before the Battle of the Rosebud on June 17, 1876, Crazy Horse tied his weapons and gear to his horse. He took one of his lances and jammed it point first into the earth. He swung onto his horse and headed to the east opening of the great circle of lodges, riding one horse and leading the other. There he turned right and slowly, silently began to circle the large encampment. Men hurried to join him as he continued around the outer edge of the camp. By the time he reached the opening again, a line of riders were strung out behind him. As he finished the second turn around the encampment and began the third, the old ones watching realized what Crazy Horse was doing… he had invoked the ancient ritual of Wica Mnaiciyapi, “Gathering the Warriors,” a ritual that had last been done eleven years before. Word spread quickly as more and more men joined the growing procession. It seemed as though everyone in camp stopped whatever they were doing to watch. Women began to sing the Strong Heart songs to encourage their fighting men. Elders took their grandchildren by the hand to witness the extraordinary event and so that the memory of it would live in the hearts of the next generations. As the fourth and final turn around the encampment began, it was difficult to see where the procession of fighting men started and where it ended. It encircled the entire camp. Drums pounded throughout the camp like the heartbeat of the land itself. As he finished the fourth turn, Crazy Horse pointed his horses south and the great procession followed, feathers and banners streaming, the very image of strength and invincibility.” (Marshall, Joseph. The Journey of Crazy Horse. New York: Viking Penguin, 2004.)

While it's true he was a great general who led his people in a war against the invasion of their homeland by the white man, Crazy Horse was much more.

Due to his outstanding leadership skills, Crazy Horse was one of the youngest Lakota men in memory to receive one of the highest honors and responsibilities accorded to males: the title of Shirtwearer. As such, Crazy Horse put others before himself. Throughout his life, he remained committed to safeguarding the tradition and principles of the Lakota way of life. This is why Crazy Horse is so admired by Indigenous Peoples and many seek to live as he lived.

Peltier is Crazy Horse... This man, Leonard Peltier, is a First Nations relation that was protecting the unborn generations and the elders of the tribes in what we call America. - Chief Leonard Crow Dog
In the Spirit...

Each of us must be Crazy Horse.

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