A MEMORABLE PLACE
Last stand for Crazy Horse
By Amanda Newell
SPECIAL TO THE SUN
It was nearly dusk when we reached Fort Robinson, Neb. We had traveled several hours from Mission, S.D., and were tired from the monotonous drive across the northern plains.
Fort Robinson sat unassuming in the maze of rolling hills and cragged buttes. Except for the historical marker, there was nothing to suggest that an important chapter in American history ended here -- certainly nothing to suggest that this was the place where the Lakota Sioux warrior Tasunke Witko -- Crazy Horse -- spent his final moments more than 100 years ago.
My own connection to Crazy Horse began hundreds of miles away, at Washington College in Chestertown. As a student there, I had researched and written about a modest collection of American Indian artifacts, including a warrior's shirt attributed to Crazy Horse.
After graduating, I continued my research and decided to travel to South Dakota to speak directly with Crazy Horse's relatives, While there, I also met Bob Gough, who represents the estate of Tasunke Witko in legal matters.
Bob and I were the only visitors at Fort Robinson. The summer tourist season had ended, and the emptiness of the place drifted over us with the cold that was settling in for the long winter ahead.
Although we could see no one that we might disturb, we were compelled to speak in whispers as we made our way to a single stone marker. Placed in front of two small, restored log-cabin guard houses, the marker spelled out plainly what had happened here: "On this spot Crazy Horse, Oglala Chief, was killed Sept. 5, 1877."
As one of the last northern Plains Indians to surrender to the U.S. government, Crazy Horse was especially feared. He was instrumental in leading a coalition of tribes to victory over General Custer's troops at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. After Custer's humiliating defeat, the government stepped up its efforts to round up "hostile" Indians like Crazy Horse, who had not yet agreed to settle on reservations.
On that September day in 1877, Crazy Horse came to Fort Robinson, then known as the Red Cloud Agency, for what he believed would be a peaceful meeting with government officials. When he arrived at the agency guard house, officers proceeded to arrest him. He resisted, and in the ensuing scuffle, he was stabbed with a bayonet and died hours later.
Although more than a century separated me from Crazy Horse, I found myself standing in his place at Fort Robinson. It was a moment out of time. A gentle breeze rustled the stiff leaves, which swirled in brown circles around our feet. I turned to Bob. "If only trees could talk," I said, breaking the silence.
"They can," he replied. "You just have to listen."
Amanda Newell lives in Henderson, Md.
Lauren Morris, Cockeysville
I took this picture in Arles, France, which is in the southern part of the country. I was on a school trip with Notre Dame Prep in Towson. I know how these dogs felt because we had been constantly on the go throughout the 10-day trip.
Honomanu Bay, Hawaii
F.L. Simon Jr., Towson
"We spent time in Maui during a visit to the Hawaiian Islands. One day, we came upon Honomanu Bay, popular with wind surfers. There was a stiff breeze, and many colorful sailors were showing off their skills. Men and women handled their crafts with amazing dexterity, sometimes performing complete flips without spilling into the choppy surf."
Victoria Jenkins, Baltimore
"On a tour of the Canadian Rockies, we saw majestic, snow-covered mountains and awesome glaciers. We tasted clear, white-blue drops of glacier water and rode aboard a snow coach across the 1,000-foot-thick Columbia Ice Field. All the hotels and ski lodges in the area were excellent, the food was great and everyone was friendly."
LET US HEAR FROM YOU
We want to know about your travels, your experiences, your memories, your pictures. Here's how to participate in this page:
n Give us your recommendations of places to visit. Where are you just back from? Tell us where you've recently visited and what tips you can pass along about your trip to other readers. Or tell us about your favorite destinations. Our current question: Where is the best place to hold a family reunion, and why? Please answer in 50 words or less.
n In 500 words or less, tell us about a travel experience that changed you, about the nostalgia a certain place evokes, about the power of a favorite beach, the mountains, a city cafe. (Cash value: $150)
n Give us your best shot -- a terrific travel photo with a description of when and where you took it. Include your name and phone number along with the print. (Cash value: $50)
Because of the volume of re- sponses, photos and manuscripts cannot be individually acknowledged or returned.
Send by fax to 410-783-2519, or write to: Travel Department, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.