The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Crazy Horse Symbol Icon

Crazy Horse, a Native American war leader and member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, lived from the mid-to-late 1800s, and is perhaps most recognizable as the leader of a victorious war party at the Battle of Little Bighorn, which took place in June of 1876. Crazy Horse was also known for his visions and vision quests—in one such vision, he was told that he would be remembered as a leader and protector of his people.

Alexie references Crazy Horse several times throughout the narrative. Crazy Horse is, in many ways, the “ideal Indian.” His status as a platonic ideal is one that’s both perpetrated by white romanticizing and stereotyping of Native people, and one that’s grown to become internalized by several of Alexie’s Native characters as well. After a failed sexual encounter with an Indian woman, Victor says he “wished he was Crazy Horse.” In “Imagining the Reservation,” Alexie asks his reader to “imagine Crazy Horse invented the atom bomb in 1876 and detonated it over Washington, D.C.,” wondering if the plight of Native people would have continued had Crazy Horse—or someone like him—come to their rescue. When Junior Polatkin wins a basketball game for the Wellpinit Redskins in the last three seconds of the game, gossip “all around the rez about Junior’s true identity” abounds; “I think he was Crazy Horse for just a second,” says one Indian.

Crazy Horse’s appearance throughout these stories signals both individual and collective yearning for the embodiment of a cultural touchstone that represents strength, agency, and connection to the spiritual world—three traits that, as we see through Alexie’s stories, are difficult to come by on the modern-day reservation.

Crazy Horse Quotes in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven quotes below all refer to the symbol of 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:
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven published in 2013.
Only Traffic Signal on the Reservation… Quotes

It’s almost like Indians can easily survive the big stuff. Mass murder, loss of language and land and rights. It’s the small things that hurt the most. The white waitress who wouldn’t take an order, Tonto, the Washington Redskins. And, just like everybody else, Indians need heroes to help them learn how to survive. But what happens when our heroes don’t even know how to pay their bills?

Related Characters: Victor (speaker), Julius Windmaker, Adrian
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
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Imagining the Reservation Quotes

Imagine Crazy Horse invented the atom bomb in 1876 and detonated it over Washington, D.C.; imagine Columbus landed in 1492 and some tribe or another drowned him in the ocean… Imagine every day is Independence Day. Imagine that your own shadow on the wall is a perfect door. Imagine a song stronger than penicillin. Imagine a spring with water that mends broken bones. Imagine a drum which wraps itself around your heart. Imagine a story that puts wood in the fireplace.

Related Symbols: Crazy Horse, Dreams and Visions
Page Number: 149-153
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Crazy Horse Symbol Timeline in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

The timeline below shows where the symbol Crazy Horse appears in The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A Drug Called Tradition
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
...vision of Junior, standing on stage in blue jeans, strumming a guitar and singing about Crazy Horse . (full context)
Crazy Horse Dreams
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...Winnebago, where they banter with one another and have sex. “She was still waiting for Crazy Horse ,” Victor says. He asks her why she has no scars on her body, and... (full context)
All I Wanted To Do Was Dance
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
Love and Hatred Theme Icon
...“so white his reservation eyes suffer.” She asks Victor if he has ever heard of Crazy Horse , and then she disappears. Victor, unable to sleep, watches the sun come up. He... (full context)
Imagining the Reservation
Violence, Poverty, and Loss Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Cultural Pain vs. Personal Pain Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
An unnamed narrator asks us to “imagine Crazy Horse invented the atom bomb in 1876 and detonated it over Washington, D.C.; Imagine Columbus landed... (full context)
Somebody Kept Saying Powwow
Memory, Bearing Witness, Storytelling, and Imagination Theme Icon
Community vs. Isolation Theme Icon
...the article, Norma describes Junior’s victory and implies that “for just a second [Junior] was Crazy Horse .” (full context)