Stories and story telling play a vital role in the culture of the Oyate. They (the stories) give important messages to us as we grow into society, teaches us about our ancestors and how one should carry themself. Others provide us with our role models.
Tashunke Witko has provided the latter for our young boys, to aspire to emulate his virtue, his strength of character. Who better to provide a womanly model but for Black Robe Woman!
With the work of such fine authors as this one, perhaps the fear of the storytellers disappearing can be stayed. Though this be a work of fiction, it is based and parallel with perceived and known facts as they are.
Mr. Jepperson has gone deep in his research. In doing so he has unconscientiously utilized his military skills in researching aspects not normally associated with writing stories. He has succeeded in capturing the essence of the life and times of a legend, given him a human persona, as well as bringing full to the front his companion, who walks with him, not behind. Brought to life are two very powerful role models for any culture, any civilization, for yesterday, today and for 7 generations to come.
Cetan Sinte Sa
(Kevin is of the Little Shield family and represents the descendents of the family of Crazy Horse.)
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The Crazy Horse Chronicles
It was my right as a Teton Lakota woman to go with another man and my husband, Lone Bear, knew it. But he was angry when I went with Crazy Horse and swore vengeance. I thought his anger would pass with time but it gnawed at him like a hungry wolf worrying a dry bone in the winter. Now I understood that Lone Bear was a man without honor. But he should have expected no different after he and my mother, Woman Who Thinks While She Walks, called Walking Woman, along with her brother, Red Cloud, plotted their great treachery and tricked me into marrying Lone Bear.
I had made up my mind to take Crazy Horse as my husband ten summers past, at the time of the War of the Mormon Cow. I called him Curly and he called me Little Mouse and Lone Bear was friend to both of us, looking over us as a big brother. We three were always together, playing and practicing at hunting and war. It was Lone Bear that first taught me to shoot an arrow quick and straight and made my mother proud for she was the leader of the Lynx Akacita, the society of warrior women.
Lone Bear’s mother was a warrior woman in my mother’s Akacita and, though I didn’t know it at the time, my mother and his mother long planned that Lone Bear and I would marry. It was the Old Way; the way things always were, and in her eyes, should always be. The daughter of a warrior woman was to marry the son of a warrior woman and together raise more warrior women. Mother often spoke as we worked a buffalo hide together things like, “Most men look with bad eyes on their wife riding away to battle for many days with other men. For men and women warriors ride together, fight side-by-side and sleep by the same fire. The husband of a warrior woman must be strong in honor and trust.” She always finished her little stories with, “Only the son of a Warrior Woman would understand.”
Sometimes I would answer that a woman should choose any man she wants. That is the way of the Teton Lakota. But mostly I would nod and say, “I understand,” to not get a hard look and a long silence from my mother. She was a woman of great power in our village and had the respect of all and was feared by many. I, as her daughter, was expected to learn the ways of battle. She was a teacher of arms and combat and expected her daughter to some day be as strong as she.
There was a time when I, too, thought I would marry Lone Bear. He was the son of a warrior woman and of our clan, the clan of Red Cloud. He was a strong fighter even when he was young and earned his name by killing a bear alone at fourteen summers when he was surprised by a grizzly while hunting by himself for rabbits and pheasants. He was given the name, Man Who Killed a Bear While Alone, called Lone Bear.
But when the War of the Mormon Cow started and I stood alone, covered with the blood of Conquering Bear who had been wounded by the wagon guns of the little soldier chief, called Grattan, it was Curly that rode through clouds of foul smelling smoke and fire and whirring cannon balls to lift me on his horse while Lone Bear rode off to join the other warriors. It was then that I decided to take Curly for my husband when the time
DO YOU KNOW HIM?
You carve a granite mountain in his honor, write many words about him and speak his name in quiet voices. You do these things and think you know him. But what is Crazy Horse without Black Robe Woman? We share the same heart, blood, body and soul.
When we were young I called him Curly, for his long, loose hair and he called me Little Mouse. Oh, how I wish I could turn back time to those happy days when his eyes laughed and we chased squirrels, picked plums and tumbled over each other as we played tug-of-war on the ice covered water and danced around the feast fires with our good friend, Lone Bear.
I will never forget the power in his eyes when he was only of twelve summers and I was splashed with the blood of Conquering Bear in the Mormon Cow War and he rode through acrid smoke, the whir of bullets and the thrum of cannon balls to lift me on his horse.
Or the deep sorrow in his eyes when we found only Yellow Woman and her baby alive among the hundreds dead from the attack by White Beard Harney, the squaw killer, at the battle of the Blue Water.
But all these things were as nothing compared to the hurt from the treachery of those close to our hearts. Their treachery tore us apart. I thought he had forsaken my love when he didn’t join in the blanket dance so I could take him for my husband, instead he rode away.
In anger and sorrow I chose Lone Bear for my husband. I did not know that it was not the doing of Crazy Horse but of my mother, Walking Woman, my uncle Red Cloud and Lone Bear.
When I learned the truth my hurt was so great that I swore to wear black the rest of my days and took the name Black Robe Woman, and never again called Walking Woman, “Mother.”
For two winters I saw the face of Crazy Horse in the swirling smoke of my fires and heard his voice in every song of the meadowlark. Then one day in May he returned, his proud eyes pleading for my love and I stood on my right as a Teton Woman to go with the man I chose and rode away with Crazy Horse, to fulfill our destiny and ride side-by-side with this great man and be small guide lights in the dark days of our great Lakota nation as Two Fires in the Night.
Black Robe Woman