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Now Crazy Horse is desecrated, again


There is strong, defiant response to a proposed new use for the name of Crazy Horse, the revered Oglala leader who symbolizes the heartfelt pride of Lakota and Indian people everywhere. Particularly in the Northern Great Plains, American Indians rightfully wonder if there is nothing sacred left on Earth.

Word is that a brothel in Storey County, Nevada, is proposing to name itself, The Crazy Horse Resort and Spa. The new proposal is just one more desecration. Descendant relatives of the greatly respected leader and chapters of the American Indian Movement are rightfully offended and have vowed a campaign to deny the use of the name.

Crazy Horse, (T'Shunka Witko) ? true, documented historical hero ? is also a mythological figure, a leadership beacon signaling integrity to generations of Oglala Lakota, other Tetons and all Indians of the Americas. Because he fought for his people's lands and way of life, because he sacrificed and bared his existence to the will and need of his people, because he defeated Custer and because his integrity overrides the depth of his betrayal and defeat, Crazy Horse is an ancestral personality deserving of formal and dignified respect.

Crazy Horse was a major war chief of the Oglala Lakota in the 1860s and 1870s. He was a leader in the American Indian resistance to white settlement on tribal lands and particularly a defender of the sacred Black Hills. He was a leader in the successful defensive attack against Gen. George Armstrong Custer's U.S. 7th Cavalry attack at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. Crazy Horse's adamant refusal to change his way of life required the ultimate sacrifice. Testimonies attest that on his deathbed, after suffering mortal bayonet wounds, his final words were for his people.

The legend of Crazy Horse hides the final resting-place of his human remains. Yet he is often evoked by practitioners of the ancient ways, by parents and educators seeking role models from historical times. It behooves all concerned Americans to educate and agitate for a proper address for Crazy Horse in American public life. Again, for some the issue will be of small consequence, but for 2 million plus Indians who value the memory of a great cultural hero, particularly one who stands for self-determination and respect, it means everything.

Nevada authorities should not allow the name of the revered hero for its announced purpose. Reno developer Lance Gilman and partner Susan Austin proposed the brothel's name. Focus by concerned Americans is directed to the Storey County Commissioners, Virginia City, Nevada. All supporters of respectful coverage and public depiction on American Indian topics are urged to voice your opinion about the use of such a revered name for such a questionable enterprise.

Cash Assets Management LLC is the Reno business that applied for the brothel licenses. It would be most appropriate if they would drop the use of the ancestor's name and come up with something more in keeping with the nature of the business they propose. Why antagonize a whole people for no good reason? In all things, acting from a basis of mutual respect will achieve the best consequences. We urge all parties involved to consider a new name for the enterprise.