Limited Edition bronze sculpture cast in edition of 39.
Chief Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse was quoted as saying, “Hoka-hey”…Today is a good day to die. The saying itself indicates the struggles and sadness that Crazy Horse had experienced through much of his life. Authorities believe that he was born between 1840 and 1845 but the time cannot be pinpointed. He died September 5, 1877, so in all accounts, he was quite a young man at the time of his death. Crazy Horse was an Oglala Lakota Sioux and a very respected war leader against the United States Federal Government. He hated the encroachments on their territories and the disruption to the way of life that the Lakota people had lived for centuries. He was instrumental in leading a war party to victory at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June of 1876.
Crazy Horse’s name in Lakota was Thasunke Witko, which literally means “His-Horse-is-Crazy”. It is thought that he was third in his male lineage to bear the name of Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse was a quiet man, keeping to himself much of the time, except when he took time to pay attention to the children in his camp. He was thoughtful and generous. Today we would likely call him a deep thinker, hiding his thoughts deep inside. He was aloof and shy but caring and generous to the poor, the children and the elderly. The people of the camp liked him and had respect for him.
Crazy horse was clothed very modestly in battle, mainly attaching a feather in his hair, a painted lightning bolt on his face, and painted white dots representing hail, on his body and painted on his horse. He felt this would somehow protect him in battle.
Crazy Horse was a fierce warrior as he battled against traditional enemy tribes. His reputation grew and in 1865 he was named a Ogle Tanka Un, called a Shirt Wearer or war leader, by his tribe. This was a great honor and accomplishment. His experience in battle gave him the confidence and skill to effectively battle against the United States Government’s encroachment on their lands. He was involved in the Fetterman massacre and also participated in the Wagon Box Fight near Fort Phil Kearny. It is not known his exact involvement at the Battle of the Little Bighorn but it is a proven fact that he was a major participant in the battle. An Arapaho warrior made the statement that Crazy Horse “was the bravest man I ever saw…” It is said that before the Battle of the Little Bighorn he encouraged his warriors with the battle cry that is still talked about today; “Hoka-hey”…Today is a good day to die! It is title I have chosen for this sculpture.
On September 5, 1877 Crazy horse was killed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska under confusing circumstances with questionable accounts of what happened and with questionable witnesses. However, he definitely was a protector of his people during his short lifetime and he was not killed in battle and was never captured. He was true to his convictions and can be considered a real hero to his Lakota people.
Against whatever odds we may be facing or challenges that threaten our way of life or peaceful existence, may we have that kind of spirit that will not be diminished easily.
Danny D. Edwards – Sculptor
Markings and Symbols:
The lightning bolts painted on their horses indicated that they wanted lightning to strike their enemy.
Horseshoe shaped marks usually indicated the number of horses they had taken from an enemy.
White dots were indicative of hail, wanting it to hail on their enemies.
A red dot or dots on the feather indicated a life he had taken in battle.
They felt that a circle painted around the horses eye, gave the horse better vision in battle.
Two apostrophe shapes located next to each other, one right side up and one upside down, indicated that the rider was in mourning for a fallen comrade.
Slash marks on the rider or his horse were coup marks, (when they had even touched an enemy in battle).
A painted square indicated that the rider had fought from behind an entrenchment at some point.
In those days of old, most markings of the Native Americans were intended to instill fear and trepidation in the heart’s of the enemy they were fighting. Unfortunately, in today’s world, many are marked with stigmas that come solely from perceived evaluations that appear on the outside not taking the time to see the heart of an individual, thus connecting with that person in a meaningful and caring way. May we endeavor to shed preconceived notions about those we meet and make a conscious effort to see the best and greatest potential they might have.