This is a new piece. In reading about the natural history of owls, I came across any number of Native American stories. The most compelling stories for me are about Crazy Horse, my favorite person in American history. It was Crazy Horse and his braves that handed Custer his ass at Little Bighorn. George Armstrong Custer was one of our history’s great psychopaths; a butcher of white men, red men, women and children; and on June 25th, 1876, Crazy Horse and the Lakota and Oglala nation, settled his hash once and for all.
Crazy Horse was born around 1840 to Lakota Oglala parents. His father was also named Crazy Horse. In his entire life, he was never photographed. He had curly hair and was paler of skin than other Oglala, leading other children to taunt him about the possibility of white parentage to which the boy took great umbrage. However, this taunting did not persist, as the young Crazy Horse routinely fucked-up anyone who attempted to bully him.
He was fearless and contrary and an absolute natural warrior; a tactician to equal some of the best generals in U.S. history. He was an expert decoy warrior, often using himself as bait. Such was the case in the “Fetterman Massacre” in which Crazy Horse personally lured Lt. Fetterman and 80 of his calvary to their slaughter.
Crazy Horse painted his cheeks with lightning bolts and his forehead with hailstones, in honor of the Yakiwans (Thunder Beings) and, according to many eye-witnesses, was the most fearless of warriors; always getting very close to soldiers and screaming other-worldly battle screams to his fellow braves. Crazy Horse terrified even his own men.
Crazy Horse is one of those mythic American characters that entreats conflicting historical information at almost every turn. Even his death ( almost surely an assassination) is shrouded in mystery and varying accounts. After his death, a photograph of him was produced which was quickly proven a fraud. Crazy Horse believed that the camera stole one’s soul and, given the nature of celebrity, he was not all the way wrong. History is an odd creature. It tends to be the lie we all agree upon. Crazy Horse is a hero to the Lakota Oglala and actually to me, as well. History, for the longest time, regarded him as something of a terrorist. It’s an odd paradox; one is a terrorist until one wins, and then is proclaimed a patriot.
This one is called “Poem for Crazy Horse.”