How the Crazy Horse Family Oral History Came to be Known Publicly
For over a century the true story of Crazy Horse has been shrouded in mystery. Many have attempted to unravel the mysteries by identifying what they perceived to be the 'facts' of his life...but they never interviewed those who were truly closest to this spiritual leader---his family.
Most of those trying to piece together the 'facts' never really looked in the right place. Most thought his relatives were at the Red Cloud Agency, later referred to as Pine Ridge. However that is where he was killed with the help of members of his own tribe. Nobody ever asked the question as to why would Crazy Horse's closest relatives stay in the same neighborhood with the same people who helped kill him. So Waglula, his father, took most of the immediate family to the Rosebud Reservation and later went underground and moved them to the Cheyenne River Reservation which is where most of his most immediate relatives live today. The oral history story of Crazy Horse was kept by these relatives. His brothers and sisters. His nephews and nieces. It was commited to memory and then passed down generation to generation. It NEVER left their circle out of fear of persecution. The Great Grandsons of Waglula or Crazy Horse, Sr who participated in this project are Floyd Clown, Doug War Eagle, and Don Red Thunder. In the year 2000 they crossed paths with a film maker named William Matson. In 1998 while his father, Emerson, who had been a writer and recorder of Native history, was on his deathbed, he asked his son William to finish what he had started on telling the Native side (Lakota and Cheyenne) of the battle of the Little Bighorn. William was anything but an expert on Native history. But he could not say no.
After his father died, William read nearly every book on the market having to do with the Lakota and Cheyenne history and found they lacked a cohesive story. So he went to South Dakota. He had read Bear Butte was a spiritual place for the Lakota and Cheyenne, so being a typical Euro-American he figured that the spirituality was at the top. He was wrong. It happened halfway up. The ghost of his father spoke to him and told him to "open your heart". He understood what that meant. It meant he had to learn the spiritual ways of the Lakota and Cheyenne.
When he went home he no longer skipped over the spiritual information in books on the Lakota and Cheyenne. Upon going back to Bear Butte the following year, he was given the phone number to the Crazy Horse family. He had not asked for it nor did he even know they existed. But he called it.
The family invited him out to meet him. Unbeknown to William, they had been told by their grandfathers that 'someone from the west was coming to help them'. William was from Oregon. He was asked to go to a ceremony by the family to see if he had a good heart. Apparently he passed. He has been working closely with the family ever since. The in depth coverage of their DVDs, "The Authorized Biography of Crazy Horse and His Family", series attests to that.
During the taping of their entire family oral history it was learned that the family still carried the family sacred pipe. They told of his maternal grandfather, Black Buffalo, the same Black Buffalo that met Lewis and Clark on the Bad River in 1804 and nearly was involved in a battle with them. They also spoke of Crazy Horse's eldest maternal uncle, One Horn, who met with the famed painter George Catlin and had his picture painted by him (currently at the Smithsonian).
Also according to the family, Crazy Horse's mother, Rattling Blanket Woman, hung herself when Crazy Horse was four years old. Crazy Horse was then raised by his eldest maternal aunt, Good Looking Woman, who had been unable to conceive children of her own.
Crazy Horse married Black Shawl in 1867 and together they had a daughter who they named, They Are Afraid Of Her, after his youngest maternal aunt who carried the same name (his aunt was originally named Looks At It...but that was before a fight with her husband).
The series was produced by Reel Contact and is available for purchase online.