Crazy Horse, Who was he? Do we really have photographs of him?


It seems like forever since I’ve blogged, and I’m really happy to talk to you today.  Hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and, before I get into the topic today, let me wish you all a happy and prosperous new year.

Soon…hopefully by February 10, 2020, my newest novel will be released, THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME.  It is currently in its last stages of editing.  But finishing off a novel means that a new story emerges, and so I’ve had my attention caught up in research, as usual.  One of the research projects that I’ve been caught up in is regarding Crazy Horse, and I thought I’d share a little bit of the information with you.

Crazy Horse was the Lakota Warrior who was prominent in defeating the cavalry at The Little Bighorn.  Although he steadfastly refused to be photographed, his image, nonetheless is carved in stone in the Black Hills.  To the left here is a photograph of that statue which one can readily see if he or she travels into the Black Hills.  I’m not certain if the entire statue is finished yet.

Because Crazy Horse’s life has so many twists and turns, it might well be the subject of a few blogs from me.  But today, I thought I’d do no more than talk about the images of this brave man, who died at such a young age in defense of his people.  I’m going to be quoting here a little bit from an article, Descendants of  Lakota Warrior Crazy Horse Aim to Set the Record Straight.  — this article is written by Patrick Springer of The Daily Republic.

There are a few “photographs” of Crazy Horse that find their way onto the internet.  This drawing to the right is a sketch of Crazy Horse that was recently released by his descendants.  According to Wikipedia, this is  “[a] 1934 sketch of Crazy Horse made by a Mormon missionary after interviewing Crazy Horse’s sister, who claimed the depiction was accurate.”

To the the left here is a closer look of the sculpture in the Black Hills.  Let me now quote directly from the article by Patrick Springer regarding the images used for this sculpture:

“…three Lakota men who were descendants of Crazy Horse and a fourth descendant who allowed his photograph to be used in a composite sketch that became a template for the stone monument.”

The article referenced here notes that the Clown family are descendants of Crazy Horse, but that they were cautioned against coming forward with their information due to fear of retaliation.  But they are now coming forward with their story of Crazy Horse, as passed down through oral history.

This picture to the right can be found on the internet and is supposedly one of Crazy Horse, Tashunke Witko.  While it cannot be said that this isn’t a photograph of him, it is highly unlikely for the following reasons: 1) Crazy Horse refused to have his photograph taken; 2) This likeness is taken at a time when Crazy Horse was not close to any of the white settlements or forts.  He kept to himself and did not go to or seek out the forts or settlements of the incoming peoples.  3)  This is an elegant setting and it would be highly unlikely that Crazy Horse would allow this. 4)  Crazy Horse was a very private man and did not seek fancy clothing or fancy settings.  He was said to be shy, and, although he could have told many stories of his heroism as was his right, he declined to do so.

I believe that this picture to the left is of Little Big Man.  It is odd that his picture might surface as being Crazy Horse, since he is the Lakota man who held Crazy Horse back from escaping when he was being taken to prison.  Crazy Horse was a friend of Little Big Man, and Crazy Horse is quoted as saying, “Let me go, my friends.  You have hurt me enough.”

And now, before I end this blog, I want to post a few pictures of some Native men who have been honored to play Crazy Horse in film.

Off to the right here is Michael Greyeyes.  I remember enjoying this made for TV series some time in the 1990’s  I believe it came out in 1996.

A little further to the left here is Rodney Grant who also portrayed Crazy Horse in a made for TV mini series in the 1990’s, which I also enjoyed.

This next picture to the left here is of a young man whose name I do not know.  However, I believe that he might be the newest actor to portray Crazy Horse.

Well, that’s all for now.  Did you enjoy the blog?  Did you learn anything about Crazy Horse and his photographs that you might not have known before?

Come on in and leave a message.  Oh, before I forget, I am offering a gift to one of the bloggers today.  I have a 25th year Anniversary Book of my first title, LAKOTA SURRENDER.  I’ll be gifting that book today, either in paperback or as an e-book, winner’s choice.  To the left here is an image of the cover for LAKOTA SURRENDER.





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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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40 thoughts on “Crazy Horse, Who was he? Do we really have photographs of him?”

  1. Great post and congrats on the 25 years on your book. Time really flies if you think about it. Hope to be reading your books another 25 years.

    • Hi Quilt Lady,

      So nice to see you here. I really miss it when I don’t blog for a while, because I do truly enjoy talking to you. Thank you for your gracious comments, and may the new year be filled with joy and happiness for you.

  2. Hi Karen. This blog is dear to my heart. We travel to the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming every year. As we visit museums, it is hard to embrace what a horrible battle took place. The statue of Crazy Horse is awing. Thank you for writing about him today. Congrats on another new book completion. Beautiful cover. Happy New Year to you as well! !

    • Hi Kathy,

      Oh, my goodness, lucky you. I love this part of our country, and when I lived in California, it was so much easier to get to it and see it. But since we moved to the East, it’s a little harder, and I miss these trips very much. Probably you’ve also been to the Crow reservation and have gone to the battlefield, itself. Have been to the museum there, also. Appreciate your coming to the blog today and telling me a little bit about yourself.

  3. Wow! I learned several things from this article, the most important being that Crazy Horse never had his photograph taken. I really enjoy stories of the Lakota People and I look forward to reading your book. Congratulations on it’s 25th anniversary release!

    • Hi Deborah,

      Thanks so much for your thoughts on Crazy Horse. I, too, love the stories of the Lakota People. Probably, you already know this, but there is a wonderful story teller, Joseph M. Marshall, whose book on Crazy Horse is on the internet and read by Joseph, himself, and he does such a super job. I think you might enjoy it. Here’s the link: — hope you’ll like it. I learned alot, like how the people educated their young boys on how to shoot accurately. And so much more.

  4. Golly, I thought I might add another link for some wonderful Lakota Stories, again told by Joseph M. Marshall. Sometimes this program used for this blog doesn’t like me to use links, so let me say that one only needs to go to the interest, Youtube and type in Joseph M. Marshall. He reads his own stories and he really does this so very, very well. Hope you will enjoy.

  5. What a fun blog – they say it may still be another hundred years before the Crazy Horse statue is complete!

  6. Thank you for sharing your interesting post. I have been to the Black Hills to see the statue of Crazy Horse. Amazing!

    • Next time I’m out that way, I’d like to plan to see it. We no longer live close enough to make this a trip we can do a lot. Appreciate the comment.

  7. Karen, Thank you for this fascinating post on Crazy Horse! Congratulations on your upcoming release. 🙂

  8. I would agree with you on the photograph. The other “drawings/photographs” look much different than this one.

    Look forward to seeing what you have planned for your research.

    • Yes, I agree with you. After learning about his life and how he kept to himself and avoided any contact with the incoming culture, I just can’t “buy” that the photo is his. There is however, no proof one way or the other.

    • Hi Tonya,

      In truth, I really didn’t know much about Crazy Horse until recently, and then I have found all his accomplishments fascinating. Appreciate the comment.

  9. Congratulations Karen 25 years ! Thank you so much for all that interesting history. And the pictures..

  10. Congratulations on the 25th anniversary. Always strikes me as odd how you can do feel like you did something yesterday and realize it happened years ago. Very impressive blog.

  11. Thank you so much for this very interesting post, I enjoyed reading it and I really learned from it. Thank yu for the chance of your awesome sounding book with such a Beautiful cover. Have a Great rest of the week. God Bless you.

  12. Karen, Thank you for the information on Crazy Horse. We have been to the Crazy Horse site twice, but not in the past 5 years or so. The buildings, displays, and the monument itself are impressive. There are historic, cultural, and art displays. There are also a shop and restaurant. There were plans for a school on the site, a community college I think, but I don’t know if it is now up and running. It likely will be many more years before it is finished. Mount Rushmore was a big disappointment. It is not like most National Parks. It is more of a commercial site than anything else. The National Park office is just a small room with an information counter. If you want any real information or history, you have to go into town and pay to go to a private museum. The largest area is taken up by concessions.

  13. Hi Patricia,

    Thanks so much for your update. It’s been many years since I was in the Black Hills. Someone here, however, said that they estimate it will be another hundred years before it is done. Quite a project, isn’t it? Thanks so much for your post.

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