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Crazy Horse and the disenfranchised Lakota

The anniversary of the assassination of Crazy Horse quietly passed on September 5. There were no ceremonies by the Lakota people to mark his passing.

Tasunka Witko, Crazy Horse, was an Oglala Sioux Indian chief who fought against removal to an Indian reservation. He took part and was victorious in the Battle of Little Big Horn, or Greasy Grass as it was known to the Lakota.

Crazy Horse was born in 1840 on the banks of minniluzahan near present-day Rapid City. He was an Oglala Lakota who fought against the invading forces of the United States. In 1876 he joined with Cheyenne and Arapaho forces to protect the Sioux Camp after an attack by George Custer and the 7th Cavalry. In 1877, Crazy Horse surrendered and was assassinated on Sept. 5, 1877 at Fort Robinson in Nebraska.

Crazy Horse believed that if he turned himself and his people into the military forces at Ft. Robinson they would be given an agency on the Powder River. In the end he discovered that it was just a trick by the U. S. to get him under their control. He was so feared that his death was pre-ordained by the American government.

His distrust of the white man kept him away from conferences with the government and from traveling to Washington to meet with the Great White Father, a man Crazy Horse did not consider to be a great white father. There was no love lost between Crazy Horse and Red Cloud.

It is sad that the present day government of the Oglala Sioux Tribe does not honor the memory or the birthplace of one of their greatest. Although laying claim to the Black Hills the OST refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the Lakota people living there. It is a travesty that the OST claims the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux Nation and yet disenfranchises the Lakota people living there. Many Rapid City Lakota are land holders on the Pine Ridge Reservation and yet remain disenfranchised.

The Constitutional Reform now being held up by the present Tribal Council would create a 10th District in Rapid City where residents of Rapid could vote and run for office. It is only fair that this becomes law. So far the OST has been lucky that no Lakota has taken them to court to challenge their disenfranchisement from the reservation where they are legally enrolled.

To honor the great Lakota warrior Crazy Horse, a man born on the banks of the Rapid Creek, the Tribe should act without waiting to bring the people they have abandoned back into the fold.

Nearly every Tribe in America recognizes their members living off of their reservations as citizens and allows them to participate in the actions of the Tribal Government. Why not the Oglala?

The time to act is way past due. Too many years have passed where enrolled members of the Tribe have been shut out from participating in the decision making that affects their very lives. If we are to be counted on the Tribal Rolls then start counting us as Tribal members. What would Crazy Horse do?

(Contact the Native Sun News Today Editorial Board at

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