18 July 2007

Crazy Horse

Time to mix things up a little and take a break from the Simplicity Cycle.

I just finished listening to a 9-CD book on tape, titled The Journey of Crazy Horse, by Joseph M. Marshall III. It was a fascinating look at not only a great warrior, leader and man, but also at a remarkable culture and a pivotal period of American history.

I learned a lot about Crazy Horse and the Lakota way of life, and really, really loved the book. I think it's cool that Custer hardly gets mentioned - killing a famous white dude clearly wasn't the most important thing Crazy Horse did.

I have to admit I was a little bit irritated by the way Mr. Marshall kept mentioning that the Lakota were perpetually low on gunpowder and bullets. Um, maybe because they didn't have any way of making them? Every single bullet they fired, and every grain of gunpowder, was produced by (and often stolen from) a "Euro-American." An uncomfortable fact, to be sure, but a fact none the less.

The story was tragic in so many ways... and still is today. Like all stories, there are many sides, and I think it's important to at least be aware of as many sides as possible.

And speaking of many sides, I'm also reading Hero Tales, by Theodore Roosevelt (the best president ever!). It's a collection of short historical snapshots of men like Washington and Daniel Boone, Revolutionary and Civil War battles, etc. Reading it alongside Marshall's Crazy Horse is intriguing - Roosevelt uses terms like "indian fighters" to describe Boone and Clark - not exactly politically correct, I know.

These backwoodsmen, who helped expand the American frontier and establish the US as we know it today, were genuine patriots and heroes, and they sacrificed themselves for the good of their people - just like Crazy Horse (although obviously on different sides). I find much to respect in both groups.

2 comments:

John said...

Hi, Im from Melbourne Australia.

Strange that you criticise Crazy Horse for stealling from the white man. Never mind that the white man was stealing quite literally everything from Crazy Horse and all the other native Americans.

What about thou shall not steal or covert thy neighbours property etc??

Meanwhile please check out these Spiritually informed related essays on religion, politics & culture. The first one specifically deals with the lies at the root of the USA "success" story.

1. www.dabase.org/popdisgu.htm
2. www.coteda.com
3. www.dabase.org/noface.htm
4. www.dabase.org/proofch6.htm

Dan said...

Hi John - thanks for the comment!

I wasn't criticizing Crazy Horse at all; my apologies if it sounded like that. If there was any criticism intended, it was perhaps towards Mr. Marshall for the "woe is us" attitude when it came to armaments and the tone of envy towards the American soldiers for their tremendous supplies of bullets.

In fact, I wonder if the Lakota might have been more successful if they'd avoided guns entirely and instead relied on silent, sustainable methods like the bow & arrow.

Crazy Horse himself waged a very effective one-man campaign against miners in the Black Hills, using stealth, arrows and a knife. Using a gun would have actually made his attacks less effective.

In fact, one of the major themes of Marshall's book was that the Lakota suffered when they relied on the white man's tools, food and ways. So, it seemed a little bit ironic (and, as I said, irritating) when Marshall bemoaned the lack of bullets.

As for American success, I agree with you, and am very much aware of the cost of "progress." That's why I advocate distributist economics, as an alternative to capitalism or socialism. I will definitely check out the essays you suggested. Thanks for passing them along!