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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 1, 2011 10:30am-11:45am EST

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invade them. perhaps that sentiment no longer is that strong, although theren, are still some people that would rather go and just, you know, invade physically.hys but i think there are more peo people open to speaking, opening relations, perhaps lifting therg embargo.o. i know there's a lot of people that feel that way because they feel that the only way to change things in cuba is to change it from within, and you can't change it from within if they don't have any information from outside. that's the most important thing is to get information from the rest of the world inside of cuba. >> guest: part of the work that brothers to the rescue did and this is, perhaps, what made us a target of the cuban government was to promote civil disobedience, to promote a nonviolent approach to our confrontation with the government and to reclaim human and civil rights of the cuban people. we started sending literatured into the island and slogans like
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"i am the change." that meant that every cuban hady to assume responsibility for hiy circumstances, and if we wanted change, we had to produce it ourselves, not to expect the u.s. to do it for us. and other messages like establishing our relationship to one another like the one that says comrades know brothers. t to break with that pattern of communication in cuba that the government had kind of put into them that they should call eacho otherth comrades. and to us it was a bad word. we wanted to call each otherther brothers. .. the second object after the saving of lives was the first. in reaching the cuban communities with a message of we care about you. there is such thing as human solidarity. we are willing to risk our lives to save yours, and we will be
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there for you to assist you in the land that you decide to not take in anymore and come to the u.s. by whatever means. >> now, in the book, "seagull one," you identify the rod beck >> yes. interviewed the congresswoman, that is exactly what she was. they take it to a higher place in the government. that is what god parents do. they know someone, work hire for brothers to the rescue. >> fidel castro has stepped down
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and named raul castro, policy changed. there is more trade and travel. >> you are on site. they would miss the second time. seems to be the ultimate voice in the island's. and the country for the brother. >> we need to have a book signing. >> some are going back and forth. >> i don't have any family, i would love to see the flat country where i was born, it is natural beauty is still there.
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>> seagull one, the amazing true story of brothers to the rescue. thank you for joining us here. >> next, thomas powers recounts the death of native american leader for crazy horse who died in federal custody 1870's 7. posted by the maine historical society is one hour and ten minutes. >> it might seem this is a deep departure. it is not that different.
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the nature of the events, hidden in much the same kind of way, the same kind of reasons, the same effort to lift up to the surface. when dealing with violence and conflict that defend the personal level, is highly secretive. it caught my attention to crazy horse and what happened to him. i have written in the past about two serious american attempts to assassinate foreign leaders. fidel castro and governor heisenberg's in the second world war, chief theoretician of the
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german bomb program. the united states made a serious effort to kill him in several different ways. also by sending somebody to shoot him while he was getting a lecture in zurich doing the war. fidel castro, everyone vaguely recalls, various efforts of john f. kennedy to kill fidel castro which failed. which almost everybody now says fang goodness to carry that burden around would be a pleasure. working on those things, the darkest of the archives, you never find a piece of paper where american officials are
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talking about killing somebody. it is always by implication, additional sources, things that were heard. you never find it directly. crazy horse, you too. direct across that a number of years ago. we paid a visit to little bighorn national battlefield. i picked up a book that contained three eyewitness accounts of the killing of crazy horse. i had never heard of any of those people or read those accounts before. one of them was a fellow named billy dinette who was only 22. working for the army and indian department had many years afterwards an interview with a general named hugh scott who was interested in indians and he
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wanted to know how was crazy horse killed. account was transcribed. and the meeting at fort robinson, at colonel bradley who was commander of the post. and the department was the man in charge of military activities. where fort robinson is. and william clark, and on the third day of september of 1877 planning to kill crazy worse that night.
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he heard the conversation. it was a startling document. when i read that my interest was piqued. that is how i got involved in this particular project. it takes me a long time to decide what i am going to do. once i do decide i spent a lot of time working on it and you have to live with it. it was the worst nightmare of any father. the possibility that you wake up one morning and don't care anymore. i have known her couple guys that happened to. a terrible thing to with this and a source of fear in the middle of the night. you have to be sure you are interested. it will take a while.
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reading that account. it is not just crazy horse that i am interested in. it is the larger episode that surrounded life and death. and the dispossession. process that unfold over a period of 40 years. roughly 1850 to 1890. that was also an event that fits into a larger context. the disposition, and it was on
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one time. it happened scores of times. with different tribes, different languages, different circumstances. it is interesting if he wants it and coprocessors as we take it over and occupied and distance the people that are there. many of them are hidden. we are confronted now with what happened and what it was like. the record is not fan but very robust. when we start getting interested
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in this not only do you find there are many memoirs by the soldiers, principally military people and civilians who were actively involved during that period. to a surprising extent, by indians in a special kind of way. someone was interested in the story to take down information and wrote an account. there are many such books and they have all passed through the hands of a white writer and generally speaking we know who the right -- white writers are and have some idea of their general take of what is going on. they sort of lineup.
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nothing there that you could rely on. they are surprisingly consistent. in the course of my work, more than once or twice, that is fabricated or completely false. they are closing on the truth. they get close to the truth. many details are lost and cannot be reproduced. but many can't. in the larger context, insulated event. nevertheless if you work at it you can fit in the pieces. first that really tackle
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something that was hidden was writing about the cia. there are two things. one thing was the formal secret. he wanted to know the combination in the director's office that the cia world headquarters, could not find out. those are things you -- you can not find out what they are like. if you start paying attention to intelligence you begin to get a fit for the feel of various different organizations. it allows you to read the newspaper in an interesting way.
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you say that is the russians. someone has a car accident in tunisia and you say it is an israeli. you know their style and the way they do the thinking and what they're going to say when asked if they did it. sometimes when russians kill somebody they hide it. that is part of the point. we are serious. you find out what intelligence organizations are like including american intelligence organizations and how they think they operate and also true of the indians in the 1870s. hi don't want to underestimate the gap between us and them, the gulf, the difficulty of crossing that and really understanding what they were like.
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you can if you do the work and immersed yourself in that world you begin to get a feel for it. and you stop talking about it as if it were something you had studied or learned in school and you start thinking about it as if it was something you had experienced. if you were to ask me what kind of a man was red cloud was one of the principal rivals of crazy horse and leading chief of the obama su for long time, 1840 until his death. i would tell you on the basis of what i know about him, what i feel about him. i would describe him like someone i had actually known of my father's generation. that is the way it has been internalized. you find out what these things
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are like and what proposed people are like. and lots of other characters say why would so and so do that? every bank comes up with evidence why we did that. sort of knowing what person this might have been. those people who have an itch, how substantial and heavy for it. 462 pages of text and notes. it reads like the wind. it takes a little getting used
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to. why a book about crazy horse. i could mention a lot of mothers. they are interesting figures. about many of them there was a lot known. little big man flying through the story briefly but intensely. there's a lot known about him. crazy horse is to one that i concentrated on. in many ways he seems like an improbable subject for such a long study. he was not a prepossessing person physically. no one ever described the interest of crazy horse into a room by everybody falling silent. he was slandered, below middle height. he had a mournful melancholy expression most of the time. the accounts we have with
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physical appearance. summer of 1877, roughly four months and over a long time. he had a powerful presence. takes a long time to describe the call to the indian chief. crazy horse is one of those people who is in do bubbly and chief and had that allegiance and following through the personal attributes that you wouldn't notice initially by looking at it. a lot of indians of vet part of the world were gifted orators and spoke all the time, made speeches right and left and many were transcribed. they had a remarkable eloquence and poetry.
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crazy horse never said anything like that. very few, collected sayings of crazy horse you could put on three typewritten posts. he needs no words behind it leaves no trouble behind. could have been a childhood notice that killed so many indians in those years. and you never have another child but remarkable name. they are afraid of her. and she died at the age of 3. you wonder what kind of kid was that? that was a very painful experience in crazy horse's life as you can imagine. there is an account by a man who accompanied him to the burial site of his daughter.
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his name was frank bernard. he was part polynesian. he lived for quite a while with the dakota under quite a while under circumstances too complicated to explain here but fully explained in the course of the book. crazy horse learned his daughter had died to the place where she was buried on a scaffold. crazy horse climbed up on to the scaffold with the body of his daughter. that is how they buried people. they arrested the staff six meters off of the ground and he climbed up on the scaffold. it was just morning. indians were very open about grief. but he never had any more children. lots of people claim to be descended from crazy horse but there are no actual descendants
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and no photographs of crazy horse. there are indians who drew pictures of him and who knew him. some of these pictures are great. the style of drawing called ledger art is called that because of the paper that was used mostly came from military and trading posts in a ledger book. they were drawn in pencil or pen and colored in with crayons or watercolor. there are a number of drawings of crazy horse in battle in certain situations. but no photograph. all these other indians, almost every single leading figure has left behind not just one or two but many photographs. geronimo and sitting bull must have been photographed hundreds of times. there must be hundreds of images of those people but no photographs of crazy horse.
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crazy horse was buried in an unknown place. there is a hold many literature about the burial place of crazy worse and it is fascinating. when you are out there you will meet people who tell stories about where crazy horse is buried. will come from an uncle who was told by his father that on a certain night in 1878 when it was raining like hell that he and his wife in their cabins on a procession of people coming up the road and they will do you they were carrying the body of crazy horse to be buried in a new place to keep it secret from the white people. it was his father who buried him
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and his father principally did not want anybody to know where he was buried. gee did not want people to touch his son's body. crazy horse is buried in a and unknown place. but crazy horse did a notable thing. a really remarkably notable thing. the reason why it makes sense to pay attention to this person, the notable fein was to defeat on two occasions closer to the united states, soldiers and cavalry. in the seventeenth of june eighteen 76 in south-central montana, separately at the little bighorn river to the
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west, the twenty-fifth day of june of 1876, the second of those days that really lives in the american memory, the defeat and annihilation of george armstrong custer. it was a shocking and traumatic event for the united states. it was just one week before the centennial which was being celebrated in philadelphia at the time and the news of custer's annihilation reached the rest of the country just about on the fourth of july and it was a deep shock. united states has never been so startled and disturbed by a stinging defeat except we 2 other occasions. one is pearl harbor and the other is 9/11. in the case of pearl harbor and
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9/11, part of the shock is being attacked out of the blue. in the case of custer at the battle of little big horn the shock was not being attacked out of the blue. was that a famous civil war general and a gifted military commander was beaten so completely and so utterly by an indian chief. no one thought that was possible. you can imagine how disturbed people were and how a angry they were about that. that was a very powerful thing. the first one of the personal rosebud did not involve a massive loss of life but it did involve running circles around a detachment of 1,000 u.s. soldiers, exhausting them and guiding them from out of the campaign in which they were a part. which was a notable thing to have been done. how did crazy horse do this?
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there is plenty to pay attention to and think about. those short answer is he had a gift. he had a gift sort of like an athlete who plays with balls. one of the thing that tennis players and squash players and basketball players have a sense of is where people are going to be expecting something and where they are not -- a gift for the field and how to behave on the court. in a cattle reaction rapidly over a large field, that is also a gift that controls the outcome of a conflict. crazy horse had this god-given ability to sort of know where the other guy was going to be and to know at what moment he
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would respond. the battle of little big horn is something that has been frequently argued about over the last 130 years since custer was wiped out with 200 men. nothing like that happened in the civil war. never had a major unit get wiped out to the last person. how did crazy horse do that? i am guessing there will be some people in this room who have opinions about the battle of little bighorn. i could be wrong. very easily might disagree with my reading of what happened. one actually occurred was that custer never actually got to a place where he could attack the indians. they rose up and defeated him before he could effort respond
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in an organized way. if you go to little big board which i encourage anybody to do. is a dramatic sight. very little change from june of 1876. you can stand on the hill where custer's body was found. if you just look back to the south, of the little bighorn river to a hill in the distance where his second group of soldiers that had been broken off by custer was making a stand called reno's 0 after the major who was in charge and look back you can kind of see how from battle unfolded in its final moments because when the bodies were discovered after the fight by other soldiers they placed acrosses in the spots where the bodies were found so you look back and see where the men fell
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and you can see the mad rush coming over the side of the hill heading toward custer hill. where custer himself was killed. he was not at the top. he would have liked to be at the top but couldn't get to the top. there were too many indians. you can see them rush up there. that backbone or ridge extends from custer held down in the direction of reno hill for half a mile or so. down towards the little bighorn river to the west and then away from little bighorn river to the east. ..
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>> and there's a lot of verbal evidence from the indians and a lot of archaeological evidence from the field that suggests that at that point organized e resistance collapsed, and a panic gripped both halves of these soldiers, and they were defeated. it was just, it was such a simple thing to have done. happened in a moment. and from that, within a very few minutes after that, that attack custer was dead and so were all the men with him. it was an amazing, remarkable thing. so it makes sense to pay attention to crazy horse who did this. remarkable thing. that's why crazy horse. but why the killing of crazy horse?
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crazy horse's killing was the price he paid for his victory. and if you look at that event which took place a year about the fight, the little bighorn fight, if you look at it closely, almost everybody who played a significant role in the sioux war and the disposition of the sioux over that 40-year period and in almost every event that was significant during that episode can be seen in clear relief in the actual killing of crazy horse. he was induced to surrender at the red cloud agent i near camp robinson, now fort robinson in northwest nebraska partly because he understood there was no point in trying to conduct an endless military campaign
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against a power as great as that of the united states. and he knew that was hopeless. he did not want to surrender, but he did because it was the best thing for his people. he veppedded at the beginning of may of 1877, and he was killed in september. and at first it was a very confusing summer in many ways. at first the army toyed with the idea, general crook toyed with the idea of making crazy horse the chief of all the indians, all the sioux indians, in the hope he could somehow work him. this young army lieutenant, clark, who was a very intellectually confident man and quite interested in indians taught himself the indian sign language, could communicate with them in a subtle and nuanced way and believed that he could work those indians. he thought that, as well as crook, that crazy horse could be induced to work for the united states this ways that we wanted them to do. and and he resisted that.
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he was a contrary kind of a person. he had his own aims and goals which were, essentially, to get -- aha. [laughter] pointing the light at this group. crazy horse was -- the one person that really commanded the general respect of all of the young indians at that agency. and he engendered a great deal of jealousy on the part of rival chiefs like red cloud and like spotted tail. and that jealousy contributed greatly to his killing. you have to ask, why did the army want to, want to kill crazy horse? and, basically, it was because
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of their anger at him over custer and the little bighorn and their fear. they were afraid of crazy horse because he had the ability with a relatively limited military force to cause endless trouble for the united states army. he had a great gift for running war, for protracted war spread over time, and they were afraid that he might be induced to go out again, and the rival chiefs who wanted to get rid of crazy horse began to spread rumors about him, that he was planning to leave the reservation and resume the war. so the army became very agitated. and in the end they didn't creep out in the night and enter his lodge and kill him in his bed, but tried to place him under arrest so they could send him to florida. and where he would be placed in prison. and it sounds amusing --
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[laughter] actually, that was the treatment of choice for troublesome indians. we sent a lot of cheyennes and arap hoe to florida, fort marion in augustine, florida, in 1875. after the end of the apache wars, we spent yes geronimo the. they let him come back piecemeal, one little step at a time, eventually got to oklahoma where he, where he died. never got back to arizona. but that's what they planned to do with crazy horse. and things turned out another way. and he was killed. there's one last question i'll just raise and we'll try and answer it. i've spent this long book, essentially, trying to answer that question. why did crazy horse let them kill him? here you've got a guy with a well deserved reputation as a warrior and a combatant and somebody quick to defend himself
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and with a gift for rapid movement and rapid response. and in the last 36 hours of his life the army made it apparent over and over again in explicit ways that whatever promises they had given him in the past were gone. but crazy horse did not respond like a man in danger. and on the last day of his life he rode back to fort robinson where he was fatally wounded in the evening by a guard with a bayonet. and six times in the course of that last 36 hours lieutenant lee who was the man in charge of taking him to fort robinson assured him that he would not be harmed, that he would not be hurt. and at every stage along the way there was just a ton of evidence, just obvious evidence
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that this could not be true, that the army was not treating him that way. he was, he was not going to survive the day. he was deeply p apprehensive. when you pay attention to those final days, you see here's this man, deeply apprehensive, about what's about to happen. but he went along at every stage. and when he got to fort robinson and he was handed over to the officer of the day, a man named lieutenant kennington, he took his hand, and they walked hand in hand -- first time i read that i was so startled. hand in hand to the guardhouse where they planned to put him in prison contrary to all these promises they had made to him. and he walked into the guardhouse. and it wasn't until he saw the bars on the window on the guardhouse door that this born warrior did what you would think. surrounded by a thousand people who did not intend to let him survive the day, he tried to break free and escape.
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i mean, that guy was a fighter. but it was not until then. he'd let them do it, he let them lead him to that point. so why did he do that? i'm not going to tell you. [laughter] you'll have to, you have to kind of absorb yourself into it and let it emerge from the facts of the story. i wouldn't want to spoil that for you. i'd like to read a brief piece of this book, if i may, to give you a sense of what sort of a work it is and how i went about it. and it's a passage about the preparation of the indians for the rose bud fight. and that took place, as i mentioned, on the 17th of june, 1876, and the indians were at first reluctant to fight, but crazy horse and sitting bull finally decided that they had
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to. general crook was approaching them in a threatening way, and the young men of the tribe wanted to go out and fight him. and at a certain point they just had to say, all right. so they made their preparations for war, and they went out to fight crook. so i'd like to read this section about their preparations. to give you a sense of the flavor of what i think these people were like. not since the posen war had the sioux gone out in such numbers, and they went prepared dressed in their war clothes with faces and horses painted the right way, singing their sacred songs. some indians said the warriors did not number more than 750 in all. others said maybe a thousand. only a few had the best new guns, henry or winchester repeating rifles. others had the one-shot military guns using cart rings -- cartridges, the kind crazy horse called open and shoot.
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a cheyenne wooden leg brought a six-shooter. perhaps two-thirds of the indians had firearms, but it was not numbers or weapons alone that made the sioux strong. it was the protection that comes from the favor of the great spirit and the power acquired in dreams or visions. just before the fight on the rode bud according to he dog, crazy horse's friend, the coat dreamers had conducted elaborate ceremonies invoking the special power of the black-tailed deer, the elk and the bear. all are the source of power, and the religion of the sioux was an instrument for understanding and partaking in that power. sioux religion is a come mention affair that defies neat description, but at its heart is a sense of the world as fluid and interconnected, controlled by an animating power that inhabits the four winds. this power is sometimes called
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taku scan scan, that which stirs or something that moves. a godlike spirit or entity that shares its power with every creature and thing. these, in turn, can grant favor or withhold it. on the spirit level, successful principally in visions or dreams, all creatures and things speak a common language. what they say is sometimes transparent, sometimes obscure. the men whites call med seven men the sioux call men sharing in holy or sacred power. the sacred medicine men can query or intercede and can interpret the instructions received in visions or dreams, thereby helping men to control the power given to them by the imagine or natural world. these powers reside not only in the world of the spirit, but in things themselves. the speed of the hawk, for example, resides in the body of a hawk. the power of the eagle in an eagle's talon. the frosty of a bear in a bear's
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tooth or claw, the elk's power to attract females with his biewging claw. these physical things properly prepared share their power with the man on their person. it is the same with the representation of things, the image of a dragon fly gives a man some element or aspect of the quickness in of the dragonfly. the zigzag lightning streak down the leg of a horse gives it the trampling power of thunder making it fearful to enemies. a drawing of a bear or even its claws can convey the power and frosty of the bear. crazy horse went into the battle with an aid prepared for him by a medicine man whose name in dakota meant something like the crushed residue of a pulverized buffalo horn. [laughter] whites called him horn chips or just chips. it was horn chips who had
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interpreted for crazy horse the meaning of his vision many years earlier. in the vision he had seen a man emerging from the lake on a horse. this man told crazy horse that he should not tie up his horse's tail as other warriors did when he went to war and that he should dress in a certain way, that he could not be killed by a bullet and that he could be killed only if someone held him. later, horn chips prepared protective charms for crazy horse. he directed he should wear only one feather plucked from the center of the tail of a war eagle. horn chips made for him a whistle to blow as he rode into battle. about the year 1862 or 1863 according to red feather, his brother-in-law, horn chips prepared for crazy horse the most powerful of all his protections. it was made from a rock drilled through the center which crazy horse was to wear on a thong under his left arm. another tiny stone he wore behind his left ear.
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such stones were known as spirit rocks. they possessed magical properties given by their nature, their shape, their source or the songs sung over hem. them. it was commonly believed that crazy horse was protected by the charms horn chips had given him. with their aid crazy horse could hide from bullets in battle, or the bullets were knocked away by the power from the stone. but that was not all. it was said horn chips conferred power on crazy horse in many other ways. on his body the chief carried a medicine bundle or war sack. there are several descriptions of the sack itself and what it contained. some provided by those who knew him, others by a later generation for whom crazy horse had already become a mythic figure. some say the chief's bundle was wrapped in deerskin, suspended on a braided thong. bundles typically were made from the skin of a small animal. they might be deck crate --
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decorated with beads or quills. the objects within were tied in small pouches of leather. many years later peter bordeaux said that the medicine bundle given to crazy horse by horn chips contained the dry seed of the wild aster mixed with the dried heart and brain of an eagle. a son of fire thunder reported that craze horse had on his person a little medicine bag. just before each battle, he would chew a small portion of this medicine and rub it on his body. chips himself said that eagle claws were part of the medicine fund and that he further instructed crazy horse to make a zigzag streak with red earth from the top of his forehead downwards and to one side of his nose at the base at the point of the chin. this was done with one finger. horn chips added that the chief striped his horse with the mold from the earth. many of these details were
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included in the account of a friend of crazy horse or who called him cousin and who described what he had watched crazy horse do as he readied himself to go into battle. eagle elk said he always wore a strand of braided buckskin. at the lower end was something like medicine. he had an eagle wing whistle tied on. he had it with him all the time. just before the start of the battle when they were ready to go into it, he got off his pony and got a little dirt from a molehill and put it between the ears of his horse and then on the hips of the horse, and then he took some and got in front of the horse and threw it over toward the tail. and then he got around behind the horse and threw some toward his head. then he end up to the horse and brushed it off and rubbed it on. then he rubbed a little on his hand and over his own head. then he took a spotted eagle feather and put it upside down on the back of his head instead of standing up as most did. chips was the one who directed crazy horse to do these things.
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so he would not be hurt. the dirt from the molehill had the power to make his horse invisible from the front and the rear and to hide from enemies both the chief himself and the weapon in his hand. thus, crazy horse rode to war protected and strengthened by magic, secret knowledge, the power of animal guardians, the favor of gods and spirits. many stories survive of the ways in which crazy horse used sacred power. it is evident he believed they kept him from harm and helped him to defeat his enemies. but he was not the only one to benefit from the favor of the spirit beings. when he came onto the battlefield, his friends said everybody felt stronger. crazy horse had dreamed of horses which were thunder beings. as a thunder dreamer, he enjoyed pour that went -- power that went beyond the ordinary calculation of weapons, numbers or clever plans. some of his friends were also thunder dreamers including kitten bear, a man crazy horse
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called cousin. in the summer of 1902, when the wars were long over, kicking bear told claude whistler what thunder dreamers could do. their power came from the sky bird whose beating wings were heard by men as the sound of thunder. the rock was the first of all things. inyon, the rock, created as companion the second of all things. to dream of how it could complicate a man's life almost beyond imagining requiring him to behave as a contrary who laughed when he was sad, plunged his hand into boiling water, went naked when it was cold. but there was a second kind of thunder dreamer, and these also had very great powers. so great that they could control the weather. by this it was not meant only that they could provide a blue day for a ceremonial event or make it rain during a dry season. their power was much greater and
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more explicit. kicking bear described this power to whistler. surprised once in the open by an approaching storm, kicking bear said he did not hide as the sioux usually did. they were frightened by lightning, and for good reason. lightning often killed men on horses trapped in the open. on this occasion kicking bear related he took a pipe and climbed a hill directly in the path of the storm as if inviting the sky beings to strike him. he lit his pipe and offered a prayer to the great spirit, and with the power grant canned him, he split the storm. by this he intended no figure of speech. kicking bear meant that the black sky and flashes of lightning divided in two and passed on either side of him, split down the middle by kicking bear's power. whistler reported, he says that anyone can do this if they are worthy. that is what rode south toward the rode bud on the night of
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june 16, 1876. thunder dreamers, storm splitters, men who could turn aside bullets, men on horses that flew like hawks or darted like dragonflies. they came with power as real as a whirlwind, as if whole natural world, the bears and the buffalo, the storm clouds and the lightning were moving in the tandem with the indians protecting them and making them strong. the scout had tried to explain the power of the indians, but it is doubtful that crook's officers understood what he was trying to tell them. the whites all thought they were a match for any rabble of ignorant savages. [applause] thank you. thank you. i invite questions, and somebody here has got a person stick. and it's been explained to us
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most carefully that you need to hold it as if it were a microphone that you could hear and speak into it when you have a question. so if somebody's got one, i hope so. there's a hand right there. >> i'll break the ice by asking what was the origin of his name? did you come across that? >> there are many stories about the origin of crazy horse's name. and it's the word for horse and hitco is the word for something like crazy. but not crazy in the sense that we might normally think of it as insane or irresponsible or incapable of rational action. it meant kind of exalted by powerful thought and insight and dreams, head in a whirl, almost like being in a swoon. and the name translates as his horse is crazy.
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so he's not really craze i horse, he's his horse is crazy. but in a special magical, powerful, religiously significantly way. it's a big name. and it comes from his father, it had been his father's name. and when he was a young man and performed a notable feat in battle, his father held a kind of a giveaway and fed everybody that came and gave horses to elderly need key -- needy folk to bring honor on his son and gave him his own name, crazy horse, and crazy horse carried that until he died. and then his father took the name back. so for the last two years of his life the father was once again known as crazy horse. yeah. >> why hasn't the monument to crazy horse been finished, carved in the mountainside? >> you'd have to ask ruth. it's a, she's the widow of the
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man who started to carve it back in 1948 or '49. it's a huge undertaking. it's extremely expensive. i mean, this is a big thing to do. and i don't think they're in a hurry. [laughter] >> i was looking through your introduction, and something struck me that i had never really realized in all my readings, and that is crazy horse wasn't killed, he was assassinated. and i'm wondering the you ever thought of using that word in your title or looked at it that way? >> things played out a little differently, then i would have been happy to use that word. crook, in meeting with the other chiefs and with lieutenant clark, fully intended to arrange his assassination, his murder in the middle of the night.
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but then they changed their minds. and it's interesting why they changed their minds. colonel bradley, who was the commander of the post, learned about the plan to kill crazy horse in his bed, and he intervened. as soon as crook had made these plans, he did what you would expect somebody to do in that kind of a case, he took off. he was immediately mounted up and started heading for fort larmy which was 90 miles away, and eventually he was going to go out to western wyoming where he was scheduled to command a expedition against the necessary persian indians. so he was off post. he was no longer the senior officer, crook, whose plan it was. but bradley was the senior officer, and he basically said, no. no, we're not going to kill this guy in his bed. he actually said his life is as sweet to him as mine is to me. quite a remarkable moment.
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and so so they did place him under arrest. they were under orders from general sheraton in chicago who was the commander of the army in the west. they had no choice but to do that. and from their point of view it seemed like a rational thing to do, get him away from this dangerous, easily-inflamed situation. but he wasn't really, at that point thing just went wrong, and it wasn't really an assassination anymore. yeah. >> in your treatise on magic horse, did you interpret him as being all indian in his ways? remember the strange man of diogalal, he didn't do any
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indian things. he didn't do any sun dance, he didn't fire his rifle as he was off like a white man. mother and father were both indians. did you ever hear any talk of that? in other words, did he have white way in him? >> there's been much speculation about that, and, you know, after the battle of the little bighorn initially white people, for the most part, thought that sitting bull had been in charge and was the man who had won the battle which was not at all true. and then it ascribed amazing qualities to sitting bill. it was reported one time that he'd actually been to west point. and it was reported that sitting bull had actually read the maxims of napoleon and that he spoke french and it was the french military tactics -- [laughter] nonsense, but the kind of thing that was often talked about. crazy horse was talked of as white or part white because he had light-colored hair.
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-brown as opposed to -- it was brown as opposed to black, and there was no good explanation of why he happened to have brown hair except he did. his surviving relatives who are numerous say, we are all related. and they take a very intense proprietary interest in exactly what he was and be who he was. there are a large group of people say he was not ogallala. his mother was a mini can jewish, but they say, no, he was more than that. i've never seen any evidence that actually identified any white ancestor. so if it's true, it's just unknown. or -- >> just different people have talked about it. >> they have talked about it, but i can tell you one of the things i did notice is that during that period almost any
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indian who was remarkable in any way people would say, oh, he must have white blood. [laughter] and, you know? >> well, that's true, but even mary sandar writes of the strange man. >> he was strange. >> and the other guy's wife which they got mad about, and they didn't. they were stoic about it, am i right? >> i would say you're in interesting territory. [laughter] >> did word of crazy horse's death get out to the sioux nation, and if it did, what was the reaction of the sioux nation to his death? >> his stabbing took place in the middle of a very large and unruly crowd filled with people who were shoving and pushing,
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and very few people actually saw with any clarity what happened. and the whites immediately began spreading the word that crazy horse had not been stabbed by the guard, although plenty of people actually saw that very explicitly, but that he had somehow stabbed himself with his own knife in the course of the struggle while he was trying to break free and to get away. as i mentioned earlier, there's about a thousand people roughly or maybe even more at the scene at that fatal moment. the indians were probably about evenly divided between supporters of crazy horse who wanted to protect him and supporters of spotted tail and red cloud who wanted to make sure he did not survive the day. and so they reacted very differently. there was, there was no immediate, clear sense that their chief had been murdered. that was a little bit slow to emerge over a period of time. and the red cloud indians who
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had not taken part in the battle of the little bighorn and had been living on a reservation for a long time went out of their way to make peace with the crazy horse people and particularly his relatives in the traditional way by giving them blankets and by giving them horses and sending chiefs around to all the tribes counseling patience and forbearance and the avoid dance of a larger -- avoidance of a larger conflict. at the moment when he was stabbed, there were a number of people who were ready to start shooting. but they didn't. if they had, there probably would have been a big killing. it took amazing forbearance to not allow that to occur. and at that moment with one or two exceptions, almost everybody in that crowd tried to prevent further bloodshed. >> [inaudible] >> yeah. keep this guy moving. [laughter] >> just your perspective.
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crazy horse was a great warrior, a great leader, be but in hindsight when you look at sitting bull, crazy horse and red cloud, red cloud had recognized in 1868 when he signed the fort laramie treaty that he couldn't win. he couldn't beat the army. the other two went on and fought for nine years with thousands of their own people being killed. he was impetuous, but wasn't really red cloud the wiser of the chiefs? >> that's a reasonable question. and i would say that you're missing some parts of the history here that are important. under the treaty of 1868, all sioux indians were allowed to inhabit any part of the great sioux reservation which included all of south dakota from the
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missouri river to the borders, the state borders. of what are now the state borders. and they were, also, permitted under that agreement to occupy what was called the unseated territory which was hunting territory up to the yellowstone river and west of the bighorn mountains and south down to the north platte. so the crazy horse people and the sitting bull people did not go outside of that territory, and they were doing exactly what the treaty granted them a perpetual right to do. unless they would give up that right at some future date by the formal agreement of three-quarters of the male population. and so they were not engaged in hostile acts with the united states, and thousands of indians were not killed during that period. there was very little warfare. the problem began in 1874 with the discovery of gold in the black hills where the united states at that point -- the first thing they discovered was that the black hills were not,
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as they hoped, in wyoming. they were actually in south dakota right in the sioux reservation. so it created a problem. and the solution to the problem was to extinguish their title in the sioux reservation. and that led to military operations to force them onto agencies and to various other efforts to compel them to surrender that territory. when crazy horse was attacked by crook and custer or when he came into conflict with them, they were in his territory contrary to the stipulations of the 1868 treaty, and nobody who paid normal attention to the laws of war would have said that they had committed any kind of a warlike act that would have justified this action. even the united states government doesn't really try and say that anymore.
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they just say they were going to take the black hills, and they did. so that wasn't really a question. when custer attacked the indian camp on the little bighorn river, they really had very little choice. the way such attacks typically would take place is the soldiers come up out of nowhere, usually at dawn, and ride into camp and shoot every moving figure. so you really respond or you don't. it would be unreasonable to expect him to simply not do anything under those extremely provocative situations, circumstances. but afterwards, you know, he saw the handwriting on the wall. he didn't resist the law. he resisted a little while, a few months. he basically wanted to live in a place where there were p no white people. and the place where they were, this huge territory south of the
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yellowstone between the missouri and the bighorn mountains and down to the north platte, that was rich hunting territory even at that time. you know, the buffalo weren't all killed until the indians were safely on reservations. and then it didn't take long. so i would say that red cloud made peace in 1868, and crazy horse didn't. he didn't sign that treaty, he didn't go live on a reservation, he didn't accept annuities or rations from the government, nor was he compelled to under the terms of the treaty. so he just took a different road as long as he could. >> [inaudible] >> i'm sure you've seen some reenactments. i know that the white people have done custer's last stand a few times, and it's been in the movies a lot. but i also understand that there's some indian reenactment now too. did you see them, and could you
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sort of compare the versions? >> hmm. [laughter] i have not seen the indian reenactments. that's a new thing. pine ridge and the ogallala have been doing it at pine ridge. they do do it out at the little bighorn, they've been doing it for many years. whites go out there and reenact this. there's a large community of custer buffs who are fascinated by this, by this, the spectacle of this war. it must have been one of the most astonishing things to witness you could possibly imagine. thousands of people on horseback, you know, riding hell bent for leather. and the excitement of that has held ever since, and they've tried to reestablish reenactments. i would say that indians are sometimes now getting to be a little -- they're unreliable in the way they think about these things. they're unpredictable, i should say. they're unpredictable in the way they think about them.
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in recent years there's been a group of indians who have tended to exaggerate the number of indians who were killed at the little bighorn, and there's a group now that says maybe 500 indians were killed at the little bighorn. well, it's not true. a guy named richard hardorf has done a careful study, and the true number represents more accurately the kind of unfolding that the battle went through. ant 30-40 -- about 30-40 indians were killed. i mean, that's a big deal for those people, of course, and can their families, but they killed 260. so it is a remarkably one-sided military encounter. but for some reason indians now have begun to think, no, there must have been a lot more, and they seek permission to go onto the battlefield and to erect piles of stones where their
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great grandfather was killed and things of that kind. it's, it's unreliable. >> okay. i know this is completely way off, but my grandmother's full-blooded -- >> excuse me? >> my grandmother's full-blooded iroquois indian. >> everybody in the united states is part indian. >> i can prove it, there's a difference. >> i believe you. [laughter] >> because identify been up to -- i've been up to canada to the hometown where my grandmother was born. >> yeah. >> okay? and there was between 15 and 20 million american indians when i buried my -- in wounded knee book. >> yep. >> will the president of the united states ever apologize like the germans have for the jews and etc. , will they ever apologize for
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the genocide of the american indian over 500 years? and don't tell me it's not a genocide, because i don't want to listen to it. >> i won't tell you that. [laughter] but i don't think, i don't think that's likely to happen. >> why not? >> if, the circumstances are so different in each case, but not in the way you describe it. in other words, what you would like to sort of hear -- >> you're talking about 65 million buffalo. >> that's true, and they haven't apologized to the buffalo either, but they're sorry about it. [laughter] >> you wouldn't want me to have been a full-blood because if i had been, i would have been along with crazy horse, i guarantee you. >> well, he had a bunch of people with him who were in a fighting mood, but they, you know, they all did what he did, they all came in and gave up. by which what that meant at the time was they had agreed to come
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and live on a reservation. >> i think that balance was orchestrated from -- [inaudible] the patriot from wounded knee that i've read was sand creek was one of the biggest before the other one. that was one of your real big battles in sand creek. >> well, that one -- i wouldn't call that a battle, i would call that a massacre, for sure. >> a massacre, well, what's new? they had wounded knee, they went out and had a gatlin gun, and they got scared because one indian started screaming in the air. >> well, the two examples you've just cited are ones i would certainly agree with you are something that deserves apology. and, in fact, i think -- >> all kinds of money to different people, but you don't see them giving much to american
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indians. i rest my case. >> let's have one more. >> last question. >> in your research what, what did you -- to you, what was the most startling or surprising or memorable realization that you made? in making it? >> there were so many things that came as a surprise to me and be a revelation. but one that was the biggest, i would say by far, was the complexity that i found in la code da religion and the subtlety of it and the richness of it. the richness of the poetry is astonishing. and there were a lot of an to positions who went out there and very carefully recorded in the last years of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th what those, what those people thought and how they believed those things. francis dins more was, in
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particular, a collector of the sioux music. and she spent a lot of time at standing rock and other, other reservations. and elderly men came to her -- for the most part men, but not only -- and would talk to her at great length. and one of them told her one time, we come to you as from the dead. and after we have told you what we know, we will return to the dead, and no one will know these things anymore. they, they had a very, very deep connection to the way they visualized the world. and it's interesting, he was wrong. the sioux religion is alive and well, and it's practiced, it's taken seriously, it's understood in the kind of a deep and serious way. and i've tried to talk about it a little bit in that section that i read. it's sort of like reading about
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physics when you actually get into it. it's like the way they see the interconnectedness of things is like the gravitational field that holds all objects in the universe in a matrix of power. and the more you read it, the more interesting it becomes. sometimes at talks like this i've been asked, well, what about those thunder beings? what about splitting those storms? do you believe that? and i don't answer that question right away because to answer too quickly is to miss what's interesting. okay, thank you very much. [applause] >> crazy horse defeated general custer at the battle of little bighorn in 1876,

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