Alleged Photo of Ta' Shunke Witko
From The Sidney Telegraph Sept 8, 1877
"Crazy Horse Corraled"

The old sinner is in for it. The following telegraph from Camp Robinson, under date of Sept. 5th, says:

"Crazy Horse who was arrested at Spotted Tail Agency last night, arrived here this evening. While being disarmed in the guardhouse he drew a knife and attempted to make his escape, cutting Big Little Man in the arm severely. Crazy Horse himself was stabbed in the side and dangerously wounded.

The Indians refused to have him put in the guardhouse again, and he was taken to the Adjutant's office, where he now is. There is great excitement among the Indians, most of whom have gone to their villages. The troops are under arms, ready for any emergency."

Later... "Crazy Horse after being put in the guardhouse, got pugnacious and cut around at a lviely [sic] rate. One of the soldiers, not relishing the attack, run his bayonet in the red devil, who was then conveyed to the hospital where he passed in his checks. There is no excitement, and all the chiefs stand by the military. And thus ingloriously ends the career of as great a butcher as ever cursed the earth. Ye, Gods, but won't the quakers howl."


In September, 1994 I posted to Native-L and requested advice concerning a photo, said to be, of Ta' Shunke Witko (Crazy Horse)....see specifics below. This request generated a number of responses, all of which asserted that Ta' Shunke Witko had "never" been party, directly or indirectly to a photo. Two of the responses are:
Tesunke Witko was NEVER photographed. That is the truth.

We as Lakota people know for several reasons. The main one is that Crazy Horse said he would not allow his photo to be taken, though many tried. His family and his People protected him from people with cameras. You must remember that during the time period we are talking about cameras were big bulky things and exposure times were fairly long unless they were done with flash powder. To have such an image taken of himself was against what he stood for. It would not have been done with his permission and up until his death no one with a camera was allowed nesr him. We know this as Lakota because his family and our families are related and are close. The older people knew him first hand as children, they told us and our parents when we were were young.
Photo people of the day just weren't clever enough nor were they afforded opportunity enough to photgraph him. As a Lakota... I say any such photo is either a fake or not of Crazy Horse.
I, academically, had a problem with this because Ward Churchill had been very specific in stating that the photo in his book was "authentic," period: writes that:

> [had written]:

>>Am interested in contacting someone at the U. of S.D. who may be familiar with First Nations/First Peoples photos said to reside in the U.of S.D.'s photographic collection. Am particularly interested in tracking down>info. on a photo alleged to have been taken by one "S.J. Morrow."

>Jordan has written to me specifically about the alleged picture of Crazy Horse printed on page 110 of "Agents of Repression" by Ward Churchill. He asked if I could find out from Ward how this picture was authenticated, given that Crazy Horse historically refused to allow his image to be recorded, whether it be through photography or portraiture. Photography technology at that time precludes a "candid" or chance photograph.

>Ward's response to date (not to me, but to a friend of mine) has been simply "The picture is authentic, okay?" Since he's been travelling all summer, I haven't been able to get hold of him for elaboration.

>Like Jordan, I'm curious about most of the pictures in the U of SD's archive, but specifically this picture. How is it that they claim to hold the only photograph of a man who refused to be photographed? It can't be a death photo (the practice of photographing the deceased was fairly widespread at that time) because the man in the photo is clearly alive. As I mentioned before, technology at that time precludes a "candid" photo; besides the picture is clearly a posed portrait.

>And, like Jordan, I'd appreciate hearing from anyone associated with this collection who can confirm or dispute the authentication of the photographs in the U of SD's possession.

>Lisa Stalnaker Hellwig

Lisa's involvement opened things up and I was finally lead to John A. Day, Dean, USD College of Fine Arts and Larry Zimmerman of U of SD to the W. H. Over State Museum which is located on the USD campus and to Cleo Koster (605-677-5228) who is the Registrar there.

I called Cleo and she knew exactly what I was talking about. In fact, she said that "once a month" she received queries re the S.J. Morrow photo and had prepared a "form letter" which explained the photo allegations. This "form" should now be in route and I'll post its contents when it arrives.

According to the Registrar of the W. H. Over State Museum at USD the photo stated to be of Crazy Horse (Ta' Shunke Witko) on page 110 of "Agents of Repression" by Ward Churchill is actually of one Crazy in the Lodge (Brule?). The photo, according to Cleo, is definetly NOT of Crazy Horse and the "allegation" that this is so is a "misprint." Cleo noted that she wished the photo was in truth of Tesunke Witko vice Crazy in the Lodge because this would solve all of the financial problems for the W. H. Over State Museum.

So...apparently, that was that. But, as is often the case, "that" was not that.

Some months later I found a book entitled The Killing of Chief Crazy Horse, Edited and with an introduction by Robert A. Clark, Commentary by Carroll Friswold, ISBN 0-8032-6330-9 and the case was reopened - what follows below is taken verbatim from the book:

"Portrait of Chief Crazy Horse"
alleged photo of Crazy Horse

Herein is an enlargement of what I believe is an authentic picture of Crazy Horse. The original is a small tintype, 2 1/2 X 3 1/2 inches, in excellant condition. Its first owner was Baptiste Garnier (Little Bat) the famous scout and frontiersman. When Bat was murdered in 1900 it went to his wife; on her death it was inherited by her daughter, Ellen Howard, from whom Mr. Hackett obtained it, after which it came to me, so the line of ownership is quite clear. I have a certificate from Mrs. Howard attesting that the tintype belonged to her father, and that it had been in the family since it had been made. She also says that her father told his family that it was truly a picture of Crazy Horse.

First publication was by J. W. Vaughn in his excellant With Crook at the Rosebud, (Stackpole, 1956). The account tells of finding the picture in an old trunk, which is probably true, but after that point my investigations do not agree with the information supplid to Mr. Vaughn. The account said the picture was taken about 1870 at Fort Laramie. There were two other pictures, one of Little Bat and his wife, and the other of Bat and Frank Grouard. We do not know if they were part of the same series but if they were, they were not taken in 1870 for the following reasons: Grouard tells in his biography, Life and Adventures of Frank Grouard, by Joe DeBarthe (1894, p. 117), that he met Crazy Horse for the first time just a few days after the battle between the Sioux and the Stanley Expedition on the Yellowstone River - this took place August 4th, 1873. Another point, in 1870 Bat was 15 or 16 years old; I do not believe a war chief of the Oglalas was hanging around with a teen-ager. Crazy Horse had been made a chief only a little more than a year previous - he was out in the hinterlands with his band of warriors and their families; he was not hanging around the fort for the white man's handouts as did Red Cloud and Spotted Tail. At this time and for several more years probably his only contact with the white man was across the sights of his Winchester.

Following their surrender in May 1877, Crazy Horse and his chief warriors were signed up as Indian Scouts ostensibly to keep tab on the Nez Perce, but with Lieutenant Clark on the job you may be sure they were under his eagle eye both day and night. The whites were afraid of this man and kept close track of his every move, so he was not let out on any scouting trips. Time was very heavy on his hands, the tiny details of every day living were a nuisance to him, begging for supplies and food, or settling a quarrel between the women, so one day when Little Bat rode past the camp on his way to Fort Robinson he easily persuaded Crazy Horse to come along and see what they could see. Crazy Horse liked Bat, and Mrs. Bat was a cousin of his, so he was at ease and relaxed, being with his friends. While at the Fort, with everyone in high good humor Bat dared Crazy Horse to have his picture taken, and he finally consented. According to the story he even borrowed the moccasins to make a good appearance. I know all previous picture requests had been refused; these had all been made by white men, and the white man had been trying for years to kill Crazy Horse and his people, so why should he do even the slightest favor for them. Also, on this last summer of his life he did a number of things he had never done before. On this one time he let down his guard for his good friend Bat. We also know there was a photographer at the Fort in the summer of 1877 as I have another photo stamped Fort Robinson in the mounting and this was taken in 1877.

The picture shows an Indian of medium stature, lighter-haired than the average Indian, with a rounded face rather than one with high, wide cheekbones. His hair is in two braids to his waist, and he wears two feathers which was customary for Crazy Horse. Mr. Hackett has a set of feathers given him by an old chief and they are exactly similar to those shown in the photo. Also the picture shows clearly the scar in the left corner of his mouth where he was shot some years before by No Water, after he had ridden away with No Water's wife.

It is unfortunate that the secretive nature of the old-time Indians dealing with whites caused this picture to be so long hidden. We know of trunks and bags which still hold relics of the Custer battle. Even thrity years ago would have been sufficient for proper identification, as He Dog lived until 1936, and Docotor McGillycuddy who knew and liked Crazy Horse, lived until June of 1939. Either man could have said yes or no at first glimpse, but neither saw it and now it is too late. From the people involved and my searches I firmly believe this is an authentic likeness of Crazy Horse...written by Carroll Friswold

A Lakota Advisor Closes This Door
February, 1996


There is no picture of Crazy Horse. There is no truth to how white people write about Crazy Horse. Only his people know the truth - that his spirit is alive through how he spoke through his heart. And there is his real life, his true life. And he is with the Great Spirit. He promised his people that he will be back. And the time is near. Only the Lakota people will know when that time comes. Movies and books will degrade the great leader. The movies will not bring the great leader back to life. They will only degrade a man who is a warrior for his people, a humble man. We hold this man very sacred. We ask all interested people about Crazy Horse to boycott the movies that are made about Crazy Horse. Media degrades good leaders today.

Thank you for your support.

Mitakuye Oyasin!
Bernard Ice
Wounded Knee, SD
Spiritual Advisor for American Indian Science and Engineering Society
Boulder, CO

First Nations

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