100 Voices from the Little Bighorn by Bruce Brown Deluxe CD-ROM Bundle Edition

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100 Voices: Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, Crow, Arikara and American Eye-witness accounts of the Battle of the Little Bighorn

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This is a FREE EXCERPT from
Bruce Brown's 100 Voices...

Horn Chips Recalls Crazy Horse #2
An Oglala Sioux's recollections of Crazy Horse

Interview with Eli S. Ricker in Kyle, SD, July 11, 1910.



Tonhcha Hansha [Tonkce Hansha], Long Shit or Long Turd, was Crazy Horse's medicine man at the Little Bighorn. Big Road 1 was a sub chief; Black Twin 2 was a sub-chief, but [he was] not [present] at the Little Bighorn. Hunkpapas had the most teepees at the Little Bighorn.3 Crazy Horse, in camp, one time had forbidden Little Big Man to sleep with one of the squaws. They got into a fight over it and were never friends after that. Low Dog died many years ago.4 He was an Oglala. At the Little Bighorn thirty-odd [Indians] were killed.

German, Wouptucha [Woptuh'a] is Chips' name.5 Crazy Horse never had his photo taken. Chips is seventy-four years old in 1910. Crazy Horse was five years younger than Chips. If [he were] living in 1910, Crazy Horse would be sixty-nine years old.6 He was killed when thirty-six. Chips was a cousin of Crazy Horse.

Crazy Horse's body was first buried on a scaffold at Spotted Tail [Agency] in a coffin. A house was then built over this scaffold. When we moved to the Missouri we took the body and unjointed the legs so as to get it into a small space,7 and Chips and Old Man Crazy Horse carried it to above the head of Wounded Knee (not on the creek), and buried it in the ground in a box. Old Man Crazy Horse and Chips are the only ones who knew where [it was] buried in a box. Later on Chips and Chips' brother (Crazy Horse) took up and buried [the remains] in another place in a blanket-buried under a bank and [then] covered the bank in. Later on Chips and his wife and another buried the remains in another place.

Later on Chips took up and buried [the remains] again, and he is now the only one who knows where. This [last] time [the remains] were buried in a rawhide sack. This was twenty-seven years ago or 1883.9 The reason [why I] don't tell where the bones are is because the Sioux depended much upon Crazy Horse as a fighter; but just before [he was] killed, many of the Oglalas turned against him and were jealous of him and told lies bout him. Little Big Man was[one of] the principal enemies of Crazy Horse.l0 Crazy Horse wanted peace. All the stories [then told] about him were false.

When Crazy Horse surrendered he was dressed up in a war bonnet and had two guns. He rode up, dismounted and sat down and handed his two guns to an officer in uniform called White Hat (Philo Clark). Crazy Horse handed White Hat his guns and put part of his war toggery on White Hat and said: "I have been a man of war and have always protected my country against invaders. Now I am for peace. I will look at the ground and fight no more. I will settle down and attend to my own business. 11

Crazy Horse was born at a small butte near Bear Butte on Bear Creek, a tributary of the Cheyenne River.

Crazy Horse was a very brave man and this was the reason why he was made a warrior chief. He seemed to bear a charmed life, and no matter how near he got to his enemy they could not hit him. Crazy Horse put great confidence in his medicine. His particular medicine was an eagle's feather and eagle claws and a small medicine bag, and also the feather he wore on top of his head.

Crazy Horse was a quiet fellow who attended councils and listened, but [who was] not much of a talker on such occasions or at any other time.

Crazy Horse [was of] medium height and was slender. [He had] light hair and light complexion and [had a] full face. [He was] a full-blood Oglala.

American Horse was the son of Ass (Winchonze [Winconze]).13 There is a current story that Chips wanted to sell Crazy Horse's bones. Chips says the story is false. He has never tried to do it and has never offered them for sale.14

Crazy Horse was once shot in the leg and in the arm fighting Sissetons,15 and through the face in a scrap over taking a fellow Oglala's wife away from him. After this Chips fixed him up with the medicine described above and Crazy Horse had no more trouble from wounds in battle.

His [Crazy Horse's] favorite enemy was the Crows with whom he had many battles.

Richard G. Hardorff's Notes:

1 Big Road, or Wide Trail, was a Wicasa Yatanpi, a Shirt Wearer, and the leader of a Oyuhpe band of Oglalas. He was an intelligent but unreconstructed man who preferred exile in Canada in 1877 rather than face reservation life at one of the Missouri River agencies. See Hinman, "Oglala Sources," p.11, and DeMallie, Lakota Society, p. 21.

2 Black Twin, also known as Holy Bald Eagle, was one of the last elected Shirt Wearers of the Northern Oglalas. He was a man held in high esteem by the older tribesmen who described him as a traditionalist who bitterly exposed white encroachment on Lakota lands. He was an older brother of No Water, the leader of the Badger Band of the Oyuhpe Oglalas. Black Twin had a twin brother named Holy White Buffalo who, it was said, was of a lighter complexion and was nicknamed the White Twin. Although George Hyde stated that Black Twin died on the reservation in 1877, Lakota sources indicate that he passed away on Powder River in 1875, in one of the camps of the Northern Oglalas. His twin brother, Holy White Buffalo died several years later in Canada during his exile with Sitting Bull. See Hinman, "Oglala Sources," pp. 11,16; DeBarthe, Life of Frank Grouard, p. 54; Hyde, Red Clouds Folk, p. 306.

3 For a study of the Indian population at the Little Bighorn see John S. Gray Centennial Campaign: The Sioux War of 1876 (Fort Collins, 1976), pp. 346-57, and Robert A. Marshall, "How Many Indians Were There?"The Little Big Horn Associates' Research Review Gune,1977):3-12.

4 Born about 1847, Low Dog was an exceedingly brave individual and the leader of an Oglala band which fought Custer in 1876. He surrendered in May 1877, but becoming dissatisfied with the prospect of continued reservation life, he fled to Canada several months later. Low Dog returned to the United States in 1880 and settled among the Minneconjous at the Cheyenne River Agency. He died in 1894. See William A. Graham, The Custer Myth: A Source Book of Custeriana (New York, 1953) p. 75-76; Camp Manuscripts, p. 233, IU.

5 The Lakota word woptuh a means wood or horn chips. The use of the word "German" in this sentence is not quite dear. The Lakota word for German is Iyasica, which is derived from iya `to speak' and sica bad or incomprehensible. Chips was a Holy Man, one who spoke wakaniye - sacred language which was not understood by common Lakotas. The possibility exists, therefore, that iyasica had reference to Chips' ability to converse in sacred Ianguage.

6 Crazy Horse was born in the fall of 1840. [Note: Hardorff is wrong here; according to Horn Chips, Crazy Horse was born in the fall of 1841.] The interview took place in June 1910.

7 This statement is corroborated by Black Elk in John G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story ofa Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux (Lincoln, 1961), pp. 147-48, although the original transcripts fail to reveal this information. See DeMallie, The Sixth Grandfather, p.204.

8 Among the AGO records in Washington is an enlistment document for an individual named Crazy Horse, Jr. who enlisted as a U.S. Indian Scout at Camp Sheridan on April 15, 1877. Since Chief Crazy Horse enlisted at Red Cloud Agency on May 12, 1877, the earlier record probably refers to Chips' brother who surrendered at Camp Sheridan on April 14, and was sworn in as a scout the next day. See the Camp Manuscripts, p. 807, IU; the Greencastle Banner, April 26,1877.

9 In 1883, or 1884, an old trapper named White brought a skull to the Wounded Knee trading post which he had found with some bones and a set of travois poles in the Bad Lands, somewhere between Wounded Knee Creek and Porcupine Creek. This skull showed a bone deformity in the upper jaw below the comer of the nose, and a second deformation between the cheekbone and the eye cavity. Several old Indian women who examined it, and who had known Crazy Horse, stated that it was definitely the skull of the renowned Oglala. One of these women, Louise Pourier, who was a relative of Crazy Horse, took the skull to her cabin and kept it hidden in a closet for several years. One day she wrapped the skull in a piece of blue woolen blanket and, after crushing the skull with an axe, she buried the remains in her backyard near present Rockyford, South Dakota. See the Lone Eagle Statement, part II, box 28, Mari Sandoz Collection, University of Nebraska.

10 The extent and duration of animosity between Little Big Man and Crazy Horse was probably considerably less than what Chips makes it appear to be. If any friction existed, it did not occur until after their surrender in 1877. It is true that Little Big Man was involved in the 1870 wounding of Crazy Horse, but only to the extent that he prevented Crazy Horse from stabbing No Water. Significantly, this interference averted an unlawful act by Crazy Horse which would have violated his oath as a Shirt Wearer. Nonetheless, the adulterous affair with No Water's s wife led to Crazy Horse's resignation as a Shirt Wearer. This incident did not strain the relationship between Crazy Horse and Little Big Man, who were cousins. In fact, it was Little Big Man who served as intermediary between Crazy Horse and the Chief Society when Crazy Horse returned his scalp shirt and other Shirt Wearer paraphernalia. During the 1860s and 1870s, Little Big Man was a close ally of Crazy Horse, both being actively involved in raiding the Platte Valley. During these years Little Big Man stayed in Crazy Horse's camp, and he surrendered with him in 1877 as one of the six principal men of Crazy Horse's Northern Oglalas. Prior to that time, Little Big Man had violently opposed the white invaders, his explosive nature being particularly noted by the Allison Commission in 1875 during its negotiations with the Lakotas to purchase the Black Hills. Upon the surrender in 1877, Little Big Man's ideology changed sharply from that of Crazy Horse's, and their ways separated when they enlisted as U.S. Indian Scouts. It was noted that Little Big Man executed his new responsibilities with great zeal, while Crazy Horse displayed only apathy. It was during this period that rumors began to circulate among the Oglalas that Little Big Man was acting against the good of his own people. These accusations were further fueled by his controversial involvement in the slaying of Crazy Horse, which may explain why Little Big Man refused to flee to Canada with the other Northern Oglalas in the fall of 1877. For the charge of adultery, see Hinman, "Oglala Sources," pp. 12, 17, which accusation was made by He Dog who himself was a Shirt Wearer. Little Big Man became the custodian of Crazy Horse's scalp shirt and later sold it to Lt. John G. Bourke. See On the Border with Crook, p. 415. For evidence of Little Big Man's unpopularity among the Northern Oglalas, see the Richard Stirk Interview, Ricker Collection, NSHS, reel 2, tablet 8, pp. 36-37, and also the Garnett Interview, Ricker Collection, reel 1, tablet 2, p.104.

11Chips is mistaken. Crazy Horse did not wear a warbonnet and he did not give anything to Lt. William P. Clark. In fact, Crazy Horse stated to Clark, "I have given all I have to Red Cloud." In addition, Crazy Horse presented not two but three Winchester rifles during the arms surrender. It was He Dog who presented Clark with a warbonnet, a scalp shirt, a ceremonial pipe, a buffalo robe, and a pony. See the Chicago Times, May 7,1877; and the New York Herald, May 7, and May 28,1877.

12 Crazy Horse's eagle wotawe included two bilateral tail feathers of the spotted eagle. One feather was worn upside down in the loose hair, while the other one was laced to a rawhide skin which covered a little round stone. See the Eagle Elk Interview, and also the He Dog interview with Mari Sandoz, both hereafter.

13 Ass, or Buttocks, may have been the nickname of Old Smoke, the patriarch leader of the Smoke People. He died at Fort Laramie in the fall of 1864. See Hyde, Red Cloud s Folks, p.115.

14 Crazy Horse's brother-in-law, Red Feather, was implicated by similar rumors. A map drawn by Red Cloud in 1895 bears a notation in Lakota that Red Feather would not reveal the burial location of Crazy Horse's bones unless he was given some money. See the Red Cloud map in the Frank F. Aplan Collection, Manuscript 479, NSHS.

15 The Sissetons were a Dakota-speaking tribe of the Santee, the eastern division of the Sioux. Although occasional clashes had taken place between the allied Sioux tribes, by 1850 such incidents had ceased to occur. It seems unlikely, therefore, that Crazy Horse had fought the Sisseton tribe. The Dakota word sisseton is derived from sinsin'to smell like fish,' and tunwan, which means 'village'. It is quite probable, therefore, that Chips merely stated that the attack had been made against a village which smelled like fish, and not necessarily the Sisseton tribe, as was inferred by the interpreter. We know that the Winnebagos occupied a small agency along the Missouri River in northeastern Nebraska. They were fish eaters, calling themselves the Big Fish People, who originally lived in the Green Bay area of Wisconsin, and who may have been the people referred to by Chips. Support for this belief comes from He Dog who stated that Crazy Horse had raided the Winnebago people at an early age and that he had slain one of their women. See Powers, Oglala Religion, p. 22; Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln, 1990), pp. 4,5; and Hinman, "Oglala Sources," p.9.

The Death of Crazy Horse: A Tragic Episode in Lakota History edited by Richard G. Hardorff, Bison Books, Lincoln, NE, and London 2001 p 85 - 90


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. Here is another statement about Crazy Horse from Horn Chips.

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