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Crazy Horse (1849–1877), Sitting Bull (1831–1890), and Native American resistance at the Battle of Little Bighorn

Stacy Warner Maddern


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The significance of the Battle of Little Bighorn lies more in the stand made by two fearless American Indian leaders than in the defeat of General George Armstrong Custer. Both Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull found their peak as revolutionaries on the Little Bighorn River in Montana in the summer of 1876, in a battle that would both add to their legends and seal their fate. The contribution made by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull to the defense of the American Indian lies not just in this epic battle, but in a fearless commitment to lead their people against an oppressive United States government. Tashunke Witko (1849–77) or Crazy Horse emerged as a military leader of the Ogeala Sioux tribe while still a young man in his mid-twenties. He was courageous and daring, having mastered the techniques of Indian warfare. Crazy Horse was relentless in his hatred for the white man, clearly opposed to abandoning hunting lands sacred to his people in exchange for a quiet reservation existence. Tatanka Iyotake (1831–90), known all over the world as Sitting Bull, would become the most revered chief of the Teton or Western Sioux, often referred to as the Sioux of Sioux. As the leader of history's largest assembly of Plains Warriors, Sitting Bull was a visionary band chief and practicing shaman whose strength lay in a natural ability to plan and organize. Sitting Bull lived his life in the service of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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