Saturday, January 8, 2011

Crazy Horse

Every week I write my blog in a Microsoft Word Document, because I don’t think Blogger catches all my misspellings as well, and trust me, every week there are plenty of them. I may love writing, but spelling is not one of my strengths.

After blogging through 2010 I realized I had 49 pages of text; and because we’re starting a new year, I don’t want to repost on a topic I have already posted on, because that would defeat the purpose of my blog. So last week after my final 2010 post I made a Table of Contents with all my blog titles and all the subjects I covered last year. Overall, I realized I had a lot of posts on Europe. Sure, I tried to mix it up, but it’s not difficult to see that I love European History.

This week, Wednesday January 6 marked the anniversary of Harold Godwinson being crowned King of England in 1066. My initial thought was to write about that, but then I realized I’ve talked about this topic already (See September 28, 2010’s post). So I think my New Years resolution is going to be to step out of my comfort zone and blog about some topics I’m not so familiar with this year.

One aspect of history I do not personally find the most interesting is the history of the west. Yes, this includes the history of my home state Colorado. This is interesting since my father in particular loves the history of this region. But for whatever reason I do not find this the most interesting. A quote I said to a friend trying to convince me to take a class about the west: “Manifest destiny. There, I just summed up the class for you!”

However, for the sake of mixing things up, I chose an event in history that took place in the American west for this week. I want to challenge myself, and I do enjoy learning things too. So here we go.

America has one part of its past it wants to forget; in fact most will simply ignore this event or even don’t know full well what happened involving it. I’m talking about the conflict with the American Native Americans. Genocide is a nasty word to use, one I never thought about in terms of American history. However, what American citizens did to the Native American tribes is indeed a genocide.

During this time period there was a lot of fighting between the groups. On January 8, 1877, Crazy Horse, Chief of the Sioux tribe, fought his final battle.

Six months earlier Crazy Horse banded together with his ally Sitting Bull, and the two led their combined forces to victory over Lieutenant Colonel George Custer and his men. The battle was near the Little Bighorn River of Montana, and would later be dubbed “Custer’s last stand.”

The win for the Native American forces resulted in 200 deaths of American soldiers. The American people demanded revenge against Crazy Horse. On January 8, the last of Crazy Horses followers along Montana’s Tongue River, and the soldiers opened fire driving the Native Americans into the blizzard. Crazy Horse and his warriors were able to hold off the soldiers, allowing the women and children to escape in the blizzard.

While Crazy Horse was able to escape, he knew he would be hunted. In May 1877 he led his followers to the Red Cloud reservation and surrendered. Crazy Horse was killed five months later.

This event is just one case of the conflict between the Native Americans and European settlers. It is important to learn about our past, even if it is a bleak moment in history for people. Effects of this conflict are still evident today; many Native American citizens live on reservations today and face hardships associated with the land they were “given.”

I have visited the Crazy Horse monument in South Dakota. When I visited it (many years ago) only the face was complete. It is still a work in progress today, but is a visual monument to an important figure in American history. Happy History everyone.

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