The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History
by Joseph Marshall III
-Crazy Horse's story is my personal favorite example of an American leader and warrior. This story of his life represents humility, confidence, and the killer instinct that Crazy Horse had.
-Joseph Marshall describes young Light Hair (later known as Crazy Horse) as a boy with quiet determination and having innate humility.
-Light Hair would be ridiculed and teased by his peers for having light hair and light skin. Marshall writes "He took the teasing in stride as though sensing he was being held over the fire, being tempered by the difficult moments."
-The Lakota had a name for unconventional warrior/leaders. They were called "Thunder Dreamers" which were warriors that sacrificed reputation and ego for the sake of the people. Basically, they did the opposite of what people expected. Marshall says "Light Hair must walk the path of humility rather than the path of glory."
-When he became a warrior Light Hair received his father's name, Crazy Horse.
-On one of his victories against a band of Crow Indians, he left it to the others to brag about their victory upon their return. However, Crazy Horse was said to have fought with such bravery that the others paused to watch him and he gave away the horses he captured to some of the local widows.
-Over the years his reputation grew yet he never spoke of his daring feats. Yet the humble warrior's heart was broken when the girl of his dreams, "Black Buffalo Woman" married another man.
-Crazy Horse shifted his focus back to his mission. He developed an intense disgust for whites. "To defeat them was not an act of honor but one of necessity."
-Marshall says that it is likely that Crazy Horse believed that he would die as a young man causing him to take daring risks and fight with a reckless abandon.
-Even though the reservation lifestyle offered by White Americans had attracted many Lakota, Crazy Horse’s reputation caused many young Lakota men to unite against their common enemy.
- “Fight to stay free and die a free Lakota if it comes to that. I will never live on an agency, so I will never give up my horse or my gun,” said Crazy Horse.
-According to Marshall, the Lakota could have easily defeated the whites. But most young Lakota did not have the passion to return to the old way of life. They were seduced by the white man’s lifestyle.
-Marshall says, “He was a man like many others, and in many ways he was a man like no other.”
-Crazy Horse had two enemies, the whites and the Lakota that gave up on their way of life.
-He is my personal favorite example of leadership because he did not fight for glory, prestige, or money. He fought for his way of life, for his land, and for his freedom. Yet we are taught in history that American heroes were slave owners like George Washington, Patrick Henry, or Thomas Jefferson. I personally have never seen a man truly sacrifice all, with no thought of money or fame, like Crazy Horse did.
-The author Joseph Marshall says it best. “He rose to leadership because he actually led. He didn’t point to where others should go while he waited. He led…He went first, he took the lead, he was the first to face and meet the challenge. But the other factor that enabled his rise to leadership was his humility.”