Bruce Brown's 100 Voices...
Eagle Elk Recalls Crazy Horse
EAGLE ELK ON CRAZY HORSE
MY FATHER was already related to Crazy Horse's father. They were cousins. He [Crazy Horse] choose to call me "cousin" from the marriage of his mother. Many times on war campaigns that I was in, he [Crazy Horse] was always in that same party; he was a very brave man. He does not attack the enemy ... [for the purpose of counting] coup as many times as he can. He does not count many coups. He is in front and attacks the enemy. If he shoots down an enemy, he does not count coup. He drops behind and let others count three or four coup counts. He takes the last coup.... I often wondered why he did that. He had such a reputation that he did not have to get more of that. My father married Crazy Horse's aunt. 1
Crazy Horse had an organization. I refer to a sort of organization where they don't feast and dance, but they were just followers of [him and consisted of] more than forty selected warriors. This organization was called the Last Child [Society] (Ho-ksi-ha-ka-ta) [Hoksi Hakata]. They were all very brave warriors and always went out with him and fought with him. He picks the last child in the family. If they did great deeds or something very brave, then they would have greater honor than the first child. They were always making themselves greater. I had three older sisters, an older brother and a younger brother. The older brother was killed in a war.
One day a crier for the Last Child came around and picked certain people from different families. The crier called my name, but I did not know it [then]. That is how I joined the Last Child.
Crazy Horse was not a tall man -- not too small a man [either], but just above a small man. His hair was not so dark as the other Indians; it was rather brown. His complexion was not so dark [either]. He was a very good looking man; his face was fine. His hair was braided down on both sides. That is how he wore his hair all the time.3 He wore a strand of braided buckskin; at the lower end was something like medicine, tied up in the buckskin. He had an eagle-wing whistle tied on. He had it with him all the time. Just before the start of a battle . . . he got off his pony and got a little dirt from a molehill and put it between the ears of his horse, and then he took some [more] and got in front of the horse and threw it over toward the tail, and then he got around behind the horse and threw some toward his head. Then he went up to the horse and brushed it off and rubbed it in. Then he rubbed a little on his hand and [brushed it] over his [own] head. Then he took a spotted eagle feather and put it upside down on the back of his head instead of standing up, as most [warriors] did. He wore moccasins. He generally wore just a shirt and breechclout, taking off his leggings. He did not paint [himself ].4 Chips [Horn Chips or Encouraging Bear] was the one who directed Crazy Horse to do these things, so he would not be hurt.
There were five ponies that he rode at different times in battles. One was shot twice and died the second time. The second pony was shot, but did not die. The other ponies were shot from under him and died. Crazy Horse was never hit in battle.5
One time we had a fight with the Utes.. . . One [of them] was a good shot; he came forward and no one could go up against him. Then Crazy Horse went for him and shot down the Ute. He rode right up to him. The Ute fell, and Crazy Horse called for his younger brother to come and get his first coup. His brother was dressed up beautifully and rode a good horse. Crazy Horse himself did not get fixed up like that.
Crazy Horse was wounded through the arm once.6 Many people [still] talk about him. He went with some others to the Pawnees, and they attacked the Pawnees. He took the lead, although he was just a very young boy. He was making a dash to coup an enemy. From that time on he was talked about.
[Once] several bands got together, and there was news that soldiers were looking for the Sioux.... There were some soldiers located near Powder River. The news spread among the tribes. All the warriors got together and came to look for the soldiers. They found them in rough country and started to fight them. But the Indians could not do much because the soldiers had sought shelter in the rough country. Pretty soon a man came around, saying, "Let's draw them out of that country by making them believe we are ready to run away." They went out on the flat country and the soldiers followed. Then the Indians attacked and the soldiers went back into the rough country. The man who suggested it was Hump.... Then Crazy Horse came along. He said, "Just keep away for a little while. These soldiers like to shoot. I am going to give them a chance to do all the shooting they want to do. You draw back and I will make them shoot. If I fall off, then you can do something if you feel like it; but don't do anything until I have run by them." The first time he ran by them they shot at him many times and he passed by safely. He rested a little while and then came again, this time closer to the soldiers. He was not hurt. The third time he rode still closer to the soldiers. They started to shoot, but [then] stoped shooting at him. He rode close, but they did not shoot [anymore]....7 After this battle Crazy Horse went over the Rockies to his people who were there at the time. After a little time there he came back again. At that time there were a bunch of warriors who were going out on the warpath. A lot of them got together and started off. When they did, Crazy Horse eloped with the wife of another Indian named No Water. She went with him on this war party. No Water followed the tracks of the war party, [taking] with [him] his gun. He was following Crazy Horse and hiding all the time. He overtook them at some point where, at a late hour after dark, he slipped up to the war party. He was laying for Crazy Horse, who showed up. He was unaware that No Water was laying for him. He took aim at Crazy Horse and shot him through the head below the eye.
At that time I was with the other parties on the other side of the Rockies. We were looking for the Shoshones, but could not find any. Finally we located some and a battle took place. While we were there, somebody came and ... brought the news that Crazy Horse was shot. It took some months for him to get over it. Just about that time when we were fighting the Utes, his brother was killed. His horse was a beautiful horse. When Crazy Horse was well enough, he went to where his brother['s remains] were and shot the horse over the grave of the brother. On the return he came across a number of soldiers, and he attacked them and killed two of them himself. As he came across the country, he again met a number of soldiers, and he chased them and killed two more. Those are the things that aroused the people....
Richard G. Hardorff's Notes:
1 This kinship can not be established. Eagle Elk's mother was of Yankton stock, while Crazy Horse's mother, Rattle Blanket Woman, was a Minneconjou by birth. Perhaps the kinship was derived from Crazy Horse's stepmother, although she was a Brute.
2 Hoksi Hakakta, derived from hoksila, meaning 'boy, and hakakta, meaning'last born child'.
4 Eagle Elk is mistaken. In preparation of combat Crazy Horse painted his face with the powerful symbols of the Thunder Beings -- a red zigzag line to represent lightning, and random white dots representing hail. Ritually applied, these painted images were part of the wotawe which made Crazy Horse bulletproof. See the Chips interview with Ricker herein.
5 However, Red Feather recalled that as many as eight ponies had died, the last one having been killed in the skirmish with Gen. Nelson A. Miles and the Fifth Infantry near the mouth of the Little Powder on January 2, 1877. It was said among the Oglalas that the sacred stone worn by Crazy Horse made him very heavy and that this was the reason why his war ponies would not last very long. See Hinman, "Oglala Sources," pp. 30, 36; and DeMallie, The Sixth Grandfather, p. 203.
6 Eagle Elk is mistaken. Prior to receiving his bulletproof wotawe in 1870, Crazy Horse had received bullet wounds in the leg, arm, and face. See Hinman, "Oglala Sources," p. 30.
7 For examples of other deeds of valor by Crazy Horse, see McCreight, Firewater and Forked Tongues, p. 139; Eastman, Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains, pp. 90-91; Hinman, "Oglala Sources," p. 32; Hardorff, Lakota Recollections, 87-88; and the Thunder Tail Manuscript, Marquette University.
The Death of Crazy Horse: A Tragic Episode in Lakota History edited by Richard G. Hardorff, Bison Books, Lincoln, NE, and London 2001 p 151 - 156
Eagle Elk was a member of the Last Child Society, a military lodge directed by Crazy Horse. The son of Long Whirlwind and Pretty Feather Woman (also known as Good Plume), he was also a cousin of Crazy Horse. Explaining this relationship, Eagle Elk said Crazy Horse "chose to call me 'cousin' [tahansi] from the marriage of his mother," adding, "My father married Crazy Horse's aunt."
Oglala medicine man Horn Chips, also called Chips and Encouraging Bear, was a childhood freind of Crazy Horse's. He made Crazy Horse's medicine bag, and his eagle horn.