The 1877 Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger contains some of the most famous names from the Lakota Plains wars. But as all activists know, there is nothing like making a fool of the authorities, and for some of the Lakota surrendering at Camp (later Fort) Robinson, they must have had a good time doing it. Among the 899 of Crazy Horse’s followers, there are a handful of names that might make you choke on your frybread.
Here’s a sample:
Don’t Get out of the Way
One Brings Shit From Far Away
The Nebraska Historical Society suspects some of the names were joke names given to children by a winkte or transvestite believed to be a prophet.
Historian Ephraim Dickson, explained, “Many Lakota had multiple names, some had a formal name and a nickname. It could have had to do with the interpreter” or as a “form of resistance to avoid the documentation process. You can imagine them snickering.”
And well they might have, as they announced to the census author, some of their names were:
Shits On His Hand
Pisses In The Horn
Makes Widows Cry
Dickson added, “The Crazy Horse Census was loaded with names that very possibly were no one’s real names.”
The Nebraska Historical Society says that despite the false names, the list is extremely important. Many were indeed real names of important warriors who fought at Little Big Horn, and this is the only list of Lakota who fought in that battle.
Deciphering who’s who is an ongoing task. Doug Bissonette, Oglala, and Pine Ridge spokesman for the family of Crazy Horse, is working with the Nebraska Historical Society, the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota, and Fort Robinson State Park, to honor those who surrendered with a new Crazy Horse Surrender Memorial to be built at Fort Robinson. Bissonette said several of the unusual names have been identified and they expect to be able to get to the bottom of the others.
Still, Bruce Brown, owner of the website Astonisher.com, which markets the Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger, wonders, “Who were the last three members of Crazy Horse’s band to surrender—really?”
Could they really have been called:
Brown, a retired investigative reporter and correspondent for the New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, and Washington Post, wrote on his site, “We’ll never know for sure, but I’ll bet they were better known by names other than the ones they gave the gullible Americans!”
This story was originally published August 5, 2015.