Black Elk Speaks

by

John G. Neihardt

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Crazy Horse Character Analysis

Crazy Horse is a Lakota chief, holy man, warrior, and Black Elk’s second cousin. Black Elk admires Crazy Horse and grows up hearing stories of his bravery. According to Black Elk, Crazy Horse became a chief after he had a vision as a boy, and it is Crazy Horse’s sacred, visionary power that makes him such a powerful warrior and protects him from harm. He is a prolific warrior, having fought in the Fetterman Fight, the Fight with Three Stars (the Battle of the Rosebud), and the Battle of Little Bighorn. Everyone respects Crazy Horse, though he behaves somewhat reclusively when not in battle, rarely talking to anyone and never singing and dancing with the other Lakota, except with small children. Crazy Horse repeatedly fights on behalf of his people and their land, refusing to surrender to the Wasichus (white people) and relocate his people to government agencies. In 1877, Crazy Horse is murdered while resisting arrest at the Red Cloud Agency. His death greatly affects the Lakota. Black Elk sees Crazy Horse’s death as contributing significantly to his people’s decline, and he wonders whether his people would still have control of the Black Hills if Crazy Horse hadn’t died.

Crazy Horse Quotes in Black Elk Speaks

The Black Elk Speaks quotes below are all either spoken by Crazy Horse or refer to Crazy Horse. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the University of Nebraska Press edition of Black Elk Speaks published in 2014.
Chapter 7 Quotes

He was a queer man. Maybe he was always part way into that world of his vision. He was a very great man, and I think if the Wasichus had not murdered him down there, maybe we should still have the Black Hills and be happy. They could not have killed him in battle. They had to lie to him and murder him.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), Crazy Horse
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

But only crazy or very foolish men would sell their Mother Earth. Sometimes I think it might have been better if we had stayed together and made them kill us all.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), Red Cloud, Crazy Horse
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

How could men get fat by being bad, and starve by being good? I thought and thought about my vision, and it made me very sad; for I wondered if maybe it was only a queer dream after all.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), Spotted Tail, Crazy Horse
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

It does not matter where his body lies, for it is grass; but where his spirit is, it will be good to be.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), Crazy Horse
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

I was fifteen years old that winter, and I thought of my vision and wondered when my duty was to come; for the Grandfathers had shown me my people walking on the black road and how the nation’s hoop would be broken and the flowering tree be withered, before I should bring the hoop together with the power that was given me, and make the holy tree to flower in the center and find the red road again. Part of this had happened already, and I wondered when my power would grow, so that the rest might be as I had seen it in my vision.

Related Characters: Black Elk (speaker), The Six Grandfathers, Crazy Horse
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Black Elk Speaks LitChart as a printable PDF.
Black Elk Speaks PDF

Crazy Horse Character Timeline in Black Elk Speaks

The timeline below shows where the character Crazy Horse appears in Black Elk Speaks. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Early Boyhood
Nature Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...Black Elk. He comes from a family of medicine men, and Black Elk’s father and Crazy Horse ’s father were cousins. His mother’s name is White Cow Sees. Her father’s name is... (full context)
Chapter 7: Wasichus in the Hills
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
...and build villages in the Hills. In response, Black Elk’s people decide to go to Crazy Horse in his camp on the Powder. On their journey, Black Elk sometimes wanders off alone... (full context)
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...to the Soldiers’ Town when they hear that Black Elk’s people are going to meet Crazy Horse : they suspect that Crazy Horse will want to fight, and they don’t want trouble.... (full context)
Alienation Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
Crazy Horse was the first chief in Black Elk’s family, having become one after he had a... (full context)
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...Dark Red Calves (February), the snow thaws, and they head over to the Soldiers’ Town. Crazy Horse stays behind with 100 tepees. In the Moon of the Snowblind (March), Wasichu soldiers storm... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Fight with Three Stars
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...When the Ponies Shed (May). Black Elk’s father tells them they will go back to Crazy Horse and fight with him to keep their country: it’s up to them to do so,... (full context)
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
On their way to Crazy Horse , they come across a group of Wasichus on the Bozeman Trail. Black Elk’s people... (full context)
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...to attack. Black Elk’s friend Iron Hawk, a Hunkpapa Indian who was 14 and with Crazy Horse during the battle, describes the scene: two parties set out to fight the Wasichus, who... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Rubbing Out of Long Hair
The Transformative Power of Ceremony  Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Suddenly, somebody announces that Crazy Horse is coming, and the valley grows darker as the fierce battle continues. The soldiers run... (full context)
Chapter 10: Walking the Black Road
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...Sitting Bull, Gall, and others leave for Grandmother’s Land, and many others flee elsewhere, but Crazy Horse refuses to surrender their land. (full context)
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
...breaks out between Three Stars’s soldiers and American Horse’s people, resulting in American Horse’s death. Crazy Horse assembles some warriors and chases the soldiers away. The soldiers continue to kill Black Elk’s... (full context)
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Crazy Horse begins to act strangely after this, rarely staying in the camp, choosing to wander off... (full context)
Nature Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
In either February or March, Spotted Tail, Crazy Horse ’s uncle, tries to convince Crazy Horse to surrender to the Wasichus. Spotted Tail was... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Killing of Crazy Horse
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
...people catch up to them and make them turn back. Black Elk learns later that Crazy Horse had made them turn around, as he feared there would be trouble at Spotted Tail’s... (full context)
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
The next evening, Black Elk’s people are at Red Cloud’s agency when some soldiers take Crazy Horse to the Soldiers’ Town nearby. Black Elk and  Black Elk’s father follow to see what’s... (full context)
Nature Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Black Elk and Black Elk’s father return to camp. Everyone mourns the loss of Crazy Horse , who was brave and good and only fought to save his people. He was... (full context)
Chapter 15: The Dog Vision
Nature Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Ceremony  Theme Icon
The Loss of Culture and Community  Theme Icon
Unrealized Dreams  Theme Icon
...flies over him. As he faces south, he thinks of all his dead relatives, like Crazy Horse , and weeps. Suddenly, a cloud of butterflies appears in the sky. (full context)