“The Day We Killed (Crazy Horse)” – Genocide of Native Americans

Crazy Horse – Tashunca-uitco / Thašuŋka Witko

“We did not ask you white men to come here. The Great Spirit gave us this country as a home. You had yours. We did not interfere with you. The Great Spirit gave us plenty of land to live on, and buffalo, deer, antelope and other game. But you have come here, you are taking my land from me, you are killing off our game, so it is hard for us to live. Now, you tell us to work for a living, but the Great Spirit did not make us to work, but to live by hunting. You white men can work if you want to. We do not interfere with you, and again you say why do you not become civilized? We do not want your civilization! We would live as our fathers did, and their fathers before them.”…Crazy Horse – Sioux

The Murder of Crazy Horse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gm7SSR-QUaM

Five Iron Frenzy – “The Day We Killed” LYRICS:

Into mass graves we’ve shoveled lives
a massive pipeline for the lies
a past so vast with genocide
and ignorance we hide behind
You say that we are done with this
turn blind eyes and still dismiss
chalk this up as something passed
and still create a lower caste

[Chorus:]
Lies
The way you live shows no remorse
for the day/ the day we killed Crazy Horse
Innocence with glassy eyes
kill the nation, steal their pride

On broken backs we build empires
twisting spines for the steeple spires
How many people can you kill?
look at your twenty dollar bill
Do you see third world poverty
inside the lines of your country?
And now to treaties we are loyal
but tear them up when we smell oi

History of Crazy Horse:

From http://www.crystalinks.com/sioux.html

Celebrated for his ferocity in battle, Crazy Horse was recognized among his own people as a visionary leader committed to preserving the traditions and values of the Lakota way of life.

Even as a young man, Crazy Horse was a legendary warrior. He stole horses from the Crow Indians before he was thirteen, and led his first war party before turning twenty. Crazy Horse fought in the 1865-68 war led by the Oglala chief Red Cloud against American settlers in Wyoming, and played a key role in destroying William J. Fetterman’s brigade at Fort Phil Kearny in 1867.

Crazy Horse earned his reputation among the Lakota not only by his skill and daring in battle but also by his fierce determination to preserve his people’s traditional way of life. He refused, for example, to allow any photographs to be taken of him. And he fought to prevent American encroachment on Lakota lands following the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, helping to attack a surveying party sent into the Black Hills by General George Armstrong Custer in 1873.

When the War Department ordered all Lakota bands onto their reservations in 1876, Crazy Horse became a leader of the resistance. Closely allied to the Cheyenne through his first marriage to a Cheyenne woman, he gathered a force of 1,200 Oglala and Cheyenne at his village and turned back General George Crook on June 17, 1876, as Crook tried to advance up Rosebud Creek toward Sitting Bull’s encampment on the Little Bighorn.

After this victory, Crazy Horse joined forces with Sitting Bull and on June 25 led his band in the counterattack that destroyed Custer’s Seventh Cavalry, flanking the Americans from the north and west as Hunkpapa warriors led by chief Gall charged from the south and east.

Following the Lakota victory at the Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull and Gall retreated to Canada, but Crazy Horse remained to battle General Nelson Miles as he pursued the Lakota and their allies relentlessly throughout the winter of 1876-77. This constant military harassment and the decline of the buffalo population eventually forced Crazy Horse to surrender on May 6, 1877; except for Gall and Sitting Bull, he was the last important chief to yield.

Even in defeat, Crazy Horse remained an independent spirit, and in September 1877, when he left the reservation without authorization, to take his sick wife to her parents, General George Crook ordered him arrested, fearing that he was plotting a return to battle. Crazy Horse did not resist arrest at first, but when he realized that he was being led to a guardhouse, he began to struggle, and while his arms were held by one of the arresting officers, a soldier ran him through with a bayonet.

Here’s a video from Crazy Horse’s descendants:

And another one from Thomas Powers who wrote The Killing of Crazy Horse, stating that the army killed Crazy Horse in revenge for the killing in war of General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  Here‘s Thomas’ website for the book.

And a Youtube  video called “The Legend of Crazy Horse”:

And a full length song that celebrates Crazy Horse:

Lyrics:
The Legend of Crazy Horse
by J.D. Blackfoot

You took his land and you ate his corn, and on his grave your land was born.
You took his pride and you fed him dirt, you wished him winter without a shirt
and you called this red man SAVAGE!

And after you crushed him you helped him up, to let him drink from an empty cup.
You gave him that Navy without the fleet, and made him lick your hands and kiss your feet, and you named this mad dog SAVAGE!

Well I found a book the other day, so I looked up red and white to see what’d say.
One was a savage, the other unlearned, like a look in the mirror the tables were turned….for history has named you–SAVAGE!

In the year of 65 when I was very young, we watched the dust clouds to the south and we knew that you had come.
We saw you build your chain of forts along the Bozeman road
But Red-Cloud had his allies a-counted long before it snowed.
And someday Great White Father you will know my name!

In the year of 66 you met me face to face. I decoyed your Captain Fetterman and we never left a trace.
Into our sacred homelands your Blue Coat Soldiers came,
But we just taught you a heap-big lesson in the battle of a hundred slain.
And someday Great White Father you will know my name!

In the June of 76 our Nation joined its hands. We made our camp at the Little Bighorn not knowing of your plans.
You sent your long-haired Custer of the Seventh Cavalry, to hunt and kill my children for wanting to be free.
And I think it’s time Great White Father that you knew my name!!!

It’s Crazy Horse! It’s Crazy Horse!
And I wish that you were here to see,
cause I got Yellow Hair cornered at the Bighorn and I’m about to set him free!

Ride to the village to get my Oglala’s, the Sans Arc’s and the Miniconjou,
Get Sitting Bull with his band of Hunkpapa’s the Brule’s and the Blackfoot’s too!
Riding home from battle came the Cheyenne ponies with white blood drippin’ from their feet!
Their riders were a lookin’ and a shoutin’ up to heaven, here’s to Chivington at Sand Creek!

Hey there mister wagon master what do ya’ have inside, hidden underneath that buffalo hide?
Could it be ya brought to me some food from the man back east, so my starvin’ children could have a feast?
Hey mother come look and see what the bastard done brought to me—alcohol, tobacco and guns….alcohol tobacco and guns.

Now I have seen the Eagle soaring beautiful and free, I don’t want no man to make less of me.
Do you take me for a fool or as a little child? And do you really wonder what’s made me wild?
Hey paleface ya better run…because my men are having lots of fun with alcohol, tobacco and guns-yeah!

Now I have waited patiently for you to pay your rent, but as of yet I haven’t seen that first red cent.
I don’t think that there’s much chance of me evicting you, but watch out for that day that you get Sioux’d.
A hundred years have seen the setting sun, but his sad country still is run on alcohol-tobacco- and guns.
A hundred years have seen the setting sun, but his sad country still is run on alcohol-tobacco-and guns.

Now you try to trick me and lock me up in jail,
but where would a stupid savage find the bondsman or the bail?
I turn to run for I am scared and want so to be free, I feel the ice-cold bayonet as it sinks deep inside of me.
But some day Great White Father you’ll remember me!

Sioux warriors teach your children the white man’s evil tongue.
Make them know the name of Crazy Horse and the battles he has won.
So they will know the truth when its knowledge that they crave.
Let them sing of the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And of the Great White father that dug my grave.

Brown rivers once were blue, now the fish float upside down.
Ancestral burial grounds that’s where you built your towns.
The smokestacks from your factories they pollute my skies.
You slaughtered all my buffalo and you left me here to die.
And all of this you have done in the name of God!

Crazy Horse he was laid to rest on a creek called Wounded Knee.
but there is more buried in his grave than the wisest man could see.

I have dreamed the vision of the horse that dances wild, and I have seen the land of the great beyond.
I am one with this earth as a little child. Let my eternal light shine on.

Ride away and don’t recall the things that are best forgotten.
Try to find a way-of picking from the barrel the one that’s rotten.
The key to peace is sitting on your shoulders. So knock upon the door and you walk on in.
You’re just a child who has but to remember, that in yourself you just found your best friend.

so ride away lord–

It is said that Crazy Horse had the power to dream himself into the real world-
and to leave the illusion behind…….

Cheers,

Dimitri

Email me: dimitri.pravdin(*a*)mail.ru

Crazy Horse Memorial

Crazy Horse Memorial 2

Crazy Horse Memorial 3

Crazy Horse Memorial 4

From http://newnativeamericanlegendseveryday.blogspot.ca/
Crazy Horse
Story of a Brave Sioux Leader
A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky … we preferred hunting to a life of idleness on our reservations. At times we did not get enough to eat and we were not allowed to hunt. All we wanted was peace and to be left alone. Soldiers came and destroyed our villages. Then Long Hair (Custer) came…They say we massacred him, but he would have done the same to us. Our first impulse was to escape but we were so hemmed in we had to fight.
…Crazy Horse, as remembered by Charles A. Eastman. Crazy Horse, Tashunkewitko of the western Sioux, was born about 1845. Killed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska in 1877, he lived barely 33 years.

I can’t resist adding this, because it also mentions the genocide of Native Americans:

Neil Young – Pocahontas
Aurora borealis
The icy sky at night
Paddles cut the water
In a long and hurried flight
From the white man
to the fields of green
And the homeland
we’ve never seen.

They killed us in our tepee
And they cut our women down
They might have left some babies
Cryin’ on the ground
But the firesticks
and the wagons come
And the night falls
on the setting sun.

They massacred the buffalo
Kitty corner from the bank
The taxis run across my feet
And my eyes have turned to blanks
In my little box
at the top of the stairs
With my Indian rug
and a pipe to share.

I wish a was a trapper
I would give thousand pelts
To sleep with Pocahontas
And find out how she felt
In the mornin’
on the fields of green
In the homeland
we’ve never seen.

And maybe Marlon Brando
Will be there by the fire
We’ll sit and talk of Hollywood
And the good things there for hire
And the Astrodome
and the first tepee
Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me
Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me
Pocahontas.

An explanation of this song from an article called “Neil Young’s Use of North American History”:

Although the story of Pocahontas has been exaggerated and romanticized by Hollywood, and that the actual facts about her life remain sketchy, there are some aspects of Pocahontas’ life that are rooted in historical fact. Pocahontas was born around 1595, in what is now Virginia. In 1607, when Englishmen landed at Jamestown, Pocahontas became attracted to one Englishman in particular, John Smith. They soon became friends. However, in 1609, John Smith was wounded by a gunpowder explosion and had to return to England. Pocahontas was told that he was dead. In 1610, Pocahontas was kidnapped by the English Captain, Samuel Argall. She was eventually returned and married an Englishman, John Rolfe, in 1614. The marriage resulted in peace between the Natives and the English. In 1616, Rolfe and Pocahontas sailed to England in order to acquire financial support for America. However, on the journey back, Pocahontas became very ill and died in 1617, at the age of 22.

Pocahontas was released on Young’s 1979 album, Rust Never Sleeps. As with Cortez The KillerPocahontas deals with the historical struggle of the indigenous peoples of North America. Young’s main goal in Pocahontas is to shed light on the injustices done to the Natives of North America and how those injustices have not been rectified to this day. The narrative in Pocahontas is told from the perspective of a present day Native North American reflecting on the past and commenting on the present situation of the Natives of North America. The first verse of Pocahontas,

“Aurora borealis
The icy sky at night
Paddles cut the water
In a long and hurried flight
From the white man to the fields of green

And the homeland we’ve never seen”begins with beautiful imagery but then quickly shifts context to that of the Natives of the past who are fleeing from the Europeans. The line, “the homeland we’ve never seen”, refers to present day Natives not being able to observe the homeland of their ancestors due to the early European settlers who stole their land and transformed the land into its present state.

The second verse,

“They killed us in our tepee
And they cut our women down
They might have left some babies
Cryin’ on the ground
But the firesticks and the wagons come

And the night falls on the setting sun”reveals the injustices done to the Natives during the time of European colonization and that theme continues into the third verse,

“They massacred the buffalo
Kitty corner from the bank”

The remainder of the third verse,

“The taxis run across my feet
And my eyes have turned to blanks
In my little box at the top of the stairs

With my Indian rug and a pipe to share”is the narrator talking in the first person about the current situation of the Native people. The line, “taxis run across my feet”, is a metaphor for the modern Western technology (i.e., a taxi), that has destroyed the homeland of his ancestors. All he is left with is a “little box at the top of the stairs” and a precious few remaining artefacts from his ancestors; those being an “Indian rug and a pipe to share”.

The fourth verse of Pocahontas,

“I wish a was a trapper
I would give thousand pelts
To sleep with Pocahontas
And find out how she felt
In the mornin’ on the fields of green

In the homeland we’ve never seen”deals with the narrator’s desire to live in the time of the ancient Native people. The implied sexuality in the lines, “To sleep with Pocahontas/And find out how she felt”, is merely a metaphor for the narrator’s aspiration to have a sense of what North America and the life of the Natives was like before the European settlers came. The lines, “I wish a was a trapper/I would give thousand pelts”, contrasts the modern Western view of commercial values (i.e., one must give something to get something), with the Native view that the land belongs to everyone and no single person holds title to it. This theme is continued in the final verse,

“And maybe Marlon Brando
Will be there by the fire
We’ll sit and talk of Hollywood
And the good things there for hire
And the Astrodome and the first tepee

Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me”Marlon Brando is an icon of American popular culture who is sympathetic to the plight of the Native people. This was evident when Marlon Brando won an Oscar in 1972 for his performance in The Godfather. Instead of accepting the award himself, he sent Apache Sacheen Littlefeather to accept it for him. Brando did this to protest the standoff at Wounded Knee and the treatment of the Native people in film. The line, “And the Astrodome and the first tepee”, refers to the technological advancement made in North America. Building structures have gone from simple tepees large enough to fit one family, to huge stadiums, like the Astrodome, capable of holding tens of thousands of people. The narrator wants to go back into the past when life was simpler.

One last word about Crazy Horse from one of my favourite authors, Chris Hedges, quoted in the Neil Young News website:

From Time to Get Crazy: What We Can Learn from Native American Resistance to Colonists’ Greed | | AlterNet by Chris Hedges:

There are few resistance figures in American history as noble as Crazy Horse.

He led, long after he knew that ultimate defeat was inevitable, the most effective revolt on the plains, wiping out Custer and his men on the Little BigHorn. “Even the most basic outline of his life shows how great he was,” Ian Frazier writes in his book “Great Plains,” “because he remained himself from the moment of his birth to the moment he died; because he knew exactly where he wanted to live, and never left; because he may have surrendered, but he was never defeated in battle; because, although he was killed, even the Army admitted he was never captured; because he was so free that he didn’t know what a jail looked like.” His “dislike of the oncoming civilization was prophetic,” Frazier writes. “He never met the President” and “never rode on a train, slept in a boarding house, ate at a table.” And “unlike many people all over the world, when he met white men he was not diminished by the encounter.”

Crazy Horse was bayoneted to death on Sept. 5, 1877, after being tricked into walking toward the jail at Fort Robinson in Nebraska. The moment he understood the trap he pulled out a knife and fought back. Gen. Phil Sheridan had intended to ship Crazy Horse to the Dry Tortugas, a group of small islands in the Gulf of Mexico, where a U.S. Army garrison ran a prison with cells dug out of the coral. Crazy Horse, even when dying, refused to lie on the white man’s cot. He insisted on being placed on the floor. Armed soldiers stood by until he died. And when he breathed his last, Touch the Clouds, Crazy Horse’s seven-foot-tall Miniconjou friend, pointed to the blanket that covered the chief’s body and said, “This is the lodge of Crazy Horse.” His grieving parents buried Crazy Horse in an undisclosed location. Legend says that his bones turned to rocks and his joints to flint.

His ferocity of spirit remains a guiding light for all who seek lives of defiance.

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About sleepless in turtle island

Hi, I´m Dimitri. I have lived in Turtle Island for awhile now, so my cultural understanding is slowly improving. Also, I can see things in this place that boggle my mind. Thus this blog...
This entry was posted in First Nations / Native Americans, Imperialism & Colonisation, Music, Politics - US, Social Justice, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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