Crazy Horse: Great Warrior of the Sioux Summary
by Doris Shannon Garst

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Crazy Horse: Great Warrior of the Sioux Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

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Crazy Horse: Great Warrior of the Sioux presents the conflict between the Native Americans and the white settlers from the Native American's point of view. Garst provides interesting insights into the Sioux's way of life, customs, and heritage. She depicts Crazy Horse and the Sioux as people who defend themselves and their way of life when threatened. For the most part, the Sioux and the other Native Americans were unjustly and viciously treated by the white settlers and the U.S. government, and Garst's exploration of these injustices makes for thought-provoking reading.

Tracing Crazy Horse's life from adolescence to adulthood, Garst also deals with some of the problems and conflicts that comprise every young person's life. Crazy Horse learns the importance of making his own judgments; he learns about responsibility when he tames Strongheart, his raven-black stallion; and he learns from those who are older and wiser when he accepts the teachings of his shaman father and of Hump, his adopted father. The lessons Crazy Horse learns about the world are not only part of the maturation process; they also give him the sense of worth, dignity, and humility that makes him a great man, warrior, and leader.

Garst's narrative is also interesting in that it describes the Sioux way of life: how the Sioux cooked, how they tamed and rode horses, how they hunted buffalo, and how they fought. The young boys' games, wrestling and riding contests, mock battles, and first steps into the brave's world of war are also exciting parts of the plot. These elements make reading Crazy Horse an adventure in itself.