October 23, 2014 02:57 UTC

People in America

Crazy Horse Was Chief of the Lakota, a Warrior and a Holy Man

He tried to protect his people's way of living. <em>Transcript of radio broadcast:</em>

VOICE ONE:

I’m Phoebe Zimmermann.

VOICE TWO:

And I’m Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program PEOPLE IN AMERICA.  Today, we tell the story of a Native American, Crazy Horse.  He was a leader of the Lakota Indians.  Some people call his tribe the Oglala Sioux.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Crazy Horse's people belonged to one of seven great families who called themselves Lakota.  The word Lakota means friends or allies.

The Lakota people were hunters.  They moved with the seasons.  They moved through the great flat lands and the great mountains of the north-central United States.  The Lakota depended on wild animals for food and clothing, and for the materials to make their tools and homes.  They depended especially on the buffalo, the great hairy ox-like creature.  Huge groups of buffalo ran free across their lands.

VOICE TWO:

Great changes came to the Indian territories during the middle eighteen hundreds.  The population of the United States was growing.  Settlers left the cities of the East for the wide open spaces of the West.  The settlers followed the railroads extending across the continent.  More settlers moved west when gold was discovered in California in eighteen forty-nine.

The ways of the settlers were not the ways of the Indians.  The culture of the white people clashed with the culture of the red people -- often in violence.

The United States army was sent to move the Indians and protect the settlers.  Many Indian tribes refused to move.  Their lands, they said, contained the bones of their fathers and mothers.  It was holy ground. They fought the soldiers.

VOICE ONE:

Crazy Horse's tribe, the Lakota, had many powerful leaders and skilled warriors.  Crazy Horse, himself, was greatly feared.  The soldiers could not defeat him in battle.  Most white people did not understand why the Lakota fought so hard.  They knew little of the Indians' way of life.  They did not know Crazy Horse at all.

Much of what we have learned about Crazy Horse came from his own people.  Even today, they still talk about him.  To the Lakota, he was both a warrior and a holy man.

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

No one knows for sure when Crazy Horse was born.  Perhaps around the year eighteen forty.  But we do know when he died.  In eighteen seventy-seven, when he was in his middle thirties.

There are no photographs of Crazy Horse.  But it is said that he was not very tall.  And his skin was lighter than most of the Lakota people.

As a boy, Crazy Horse loved to listen to the teachings of the Lakota religion.  His father was a holy man of the tribe -- a medicine man.  He taught the boy to honor all things, because all things had a life of their own.  Not only people and animals had spirits, he said, but trees and rivers, as well.  Above all was the Great Spirit.

VOICE ONE:

Crazy Horse's father also told him that a man should be judged only by the goodness of his actions.  So the boy tried hard to tell the truth at all times and not to speak badly of others.

Crazy Horse learned to be a hunter.  He could lie quietly for hours watching wild animals.  When he killed a bird or a deer, he always sang a prayer of thanks and sorrow.  He always gave the meat to the poor and to the families that had no hunters.  That was what Lakota chiefs did.

VOICE TWO:

In time, Crazy Horse learned that the Indians were not alone in their world.  He watched one day as tribesmen brought back the body of one of the chiefs, Conquering Bear.  The chief had been shot many times by soldiers after a dispute over a white man's cow.  Two times in the next few years, young Crazy Horse saw the burned remains of Indian villages.  All the village people, including women and children, had been shot by soldiers.

All these events helped shape the personality of the young Indian.  Crazy Horse became very quiet.  He would go away from his village and spend days alone.

His people began to call him "the strange one."  The name Crazy Horse -- in the language of the Lakota -- meant wild horse.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

When it was time for him to plan his future, his father took him high into the mountains.  Together, they sang a prayer to the Great Spirit, a prayer like this:

"Grandfather, Great Spirit, you have existed always, and before you there was no one.  Stand close to the Earth that you may hear the voice I send.  You, where the sun goes down, look at me! You, where the snow lives...you, where the day begins...you, where the summer lives ... you, in the depths of the heavens, look at me!  And you, Mother Earth.  Give me eyes to see and the strength to understand, that I may be like you.  Only with your power can I face the winds."

VOICE TWO:

Crazy Horse stayed on the mountain by himself for three days and nights.  He did not eat or drink.  He prayed that the Great Spirit would send him a dream to show him how to live.

Crazy Horse dreamed.  He entered the world of truth and of the spirits of all things.  The Lakota people called this "the real world".  They believed our world was only an image of the real world.

VOICE ONE:

In his dream, Crazy Horse saw a man riding a horse through clouds of darkness and battle.  Bullets flew around him, but did not hit him.

The man wore a stone under one ear, and a bird feather in his hair.  His body was painted with sharp white lines, like lightning.  A light followed him, but it was sometimes covered by darkness.

Crazy Horse understood the dream as a sign.  He knew his people were entering a time of darkness.  He dressed himself like the man in the dream, so that no bullets would hurt him.  He would try to save his land for his people.  He would try to protect their way of living.

VOICE TWO:

Crazy Horse prayed every day -- as the sun rose, at noon, and as night came.  He prayed whenever he had something difficult to do.  The prayer songs would carry him back to the peace of "the real world".  He would know the right thing to do.

In the village, Crazy Horse did not keep things for himself.  He even gave away his food.  If others needed the food more, he would not eat at all.  Crazy Horse spent much of his time with the children.  He talked and joked with them.  Yet his eyes looked through the children.  He seemed to be thinking of something else.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Crazy Horse fought in more than twenty battles against the American army.  He was never hit by an enemy's bullet.  In battle, his mind was clear.  "Be brave!" the young men would shout as they followed him into battle.  "The Earth is all that lasts."

But the Earth the Indians knew did not last.  The government would take most of it.  The army destroyed Indian villages and captured those who would not surrender.

VOICE TWO:

Almost all the buffalo were gone, killed by white hunters.  The people were hungry.  Many Lakota and other Indians came to Crazy Horse for protection.

The government sent a message to Crazy Horse.  It said if he surrendered, his people could live and hunt on a part of the land that he chose.  Crazy Horse and his people could fight no more.  They accepted the government offer.  They surrendered.

The government, however, did not keep its promise to let them choose where they would live.  Several months later, on September fifth, eighteen seventy-seven, Crazy Horse went to the army commander to make an angry protest.  Guards arrested him.  He struggled to escape.  A soldier stabbed him with a knife.  The great Lakota Indian chief died the next day.

VOICE ONE:

In nineteen thirty-nine, the tribe asked an artist to make a statue of Crazy Horse.  The Indians wanted a huge statue cut into the side of a mountain.  It would show Crazy Horse riding a running horse, pointing his arm to where the Earth meets the sky -- to the lands of the Lakota people.  The tribe told the artist:  "We would like the white man to know the red man had great heroes, too."

If you visit the mountain to see the statue, you may hear in the wind the song of an old man.  He sings:

"Crazy Horse, your people depend on you.  Be brave. Defend your people!"

(MUSIC)

VOICE TWO:

This Special English program was written by Barbara Dash. It was produced by Mario Ritter. Our studio engineer was Sulaiman Tarawaley.  I’m Steve Ember.

VOICE ONE:

And I’m Phoebe Zimmermann.  Join us again next week for another People in America program on the Voice of America.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Armed officers approach Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa, Oct. 22, 2014.

    Video Deadly Attack Shocks Canada's Capital

    Also, Kurdish lawmakers in Iraq vote to send Kurdish forces to the Syrian town of Kobani. China said 43 people tested for possible Ebola infection do not have the virus. Russia and Ukraine are still working to reach an agreement on Ukraine's payments for natural Gas. More

  • Survivors of the Ebola virus pose for a picture outside a clinic near Tubmanburg, October 15, 2014. A total of 4,493 people have died from the world's worst Ebola outbreak on record as of Oct. 12, statistics released by the World Health Organization showe

    Audio Ebola Survivors Speak Out about Their Experience

    The number of Ebola cases continues rising. But there is some hope for those who survive the disease. Recently, a conference for Ebola survivors was held for the first time in eastern Sierra Leone. The goal was to offer advice to survivors and increase understanding of the disease. More

  • FBI Director James Comey speaks about the impact of technology on law enforcement, Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, at Brookings Institution in Washington.

    Audio Apple, FBI Battle Over Privacy Rules

    Apple recently said it was increasing security settings on its latest operating system for the company’s wireless devices. Apple said its new encryption rules are designed to protect users from search and seizure of their iPhones. But the changes are of concern to federal investigators. More

  • Men convicted of drug related crimes hear the public announcement for their death sentences in Shenzhen, China, on August 15, 1996.  (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

    Audio Activists: China Executed 2,400 People in 2013

    The number of executions in China is lower than in earlier years. However, it is more than three times higher than the number of executions in the rest of the world combined. That information comes from Amnesty International. Death penalty numbers are a state secret in China. More

  • Ebola-CDC brief

    Audio  WHO: Ebola Vaccine Could Be in Use by January

    Also, student leaders in Hong Kong not satisfied with first talks with government officials. North Korea has releases one of three American prisoners. And South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for the deadly shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Iron Ships Clash at Sea

    The American Civil War was fought not only on land, but at sea. In 1862, Confederate and Union forces fought a new kind of navy battle in waters off Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was the first battle between iron ships. On the Confederate side was a ship called the Virginia. | The Making of a Nation More

  • Audio San Francisco Radio Stations Ban Lorde's 'Royals'

    The California baseball team, San Francisco Giants, is playing the Kansas City Royals for the 2014 Major League Baseball championship, the World Series. Two radio stations in San Francisco banned the hit song "Royals." In return, another station in Kansas City chose to play the song once every hour. More

  • A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Vanderbilt University Photo/John Wikswo)

    Video Scientists Design Chips to Act Like Human Organs

    Testing new drugs for safety and effectiveness is a costly process in the United States. It also can take a lot of time. Some scientists are now designing silicon computer chips that act like human organs. The scientists think they have found a way to make the process faster and more economical. More

  • Brain Resource Infographic

    Audio Dealing with Distractions and Overreactions

    Five million American children and teenagers have Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. ADHD makes it difficult - if not impossible - to stay with a duty until it is complete. Katherine Ellison knows the problem well. | Health Report More

  • Millions of years of history, which can be found on the ocean floor, are collected and analyzed at the Core Repository in New York.

    Video Scientists Create New Maps of Ocean Floor

    Until recently, scientists had mapped only about 20 percent of the sea floor. But our knowledge of the deep seas is changing because of information from satellites. Scientists have produced a new map that provides a detailed picture of the oceans. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs