The Life of Crazy Horse

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 12304

Have you ever heard of Custer's Last Stand? It's not an ice cream store, but a famous battle that made a hero out of a Native American named Crazy Horse. Find out what characteristics make one a hero!


United States

learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Sadly, Indigenous Americans, also known as Native Americans, were often portrayed poorly in older television shows and movies known as Westerns.

Look at this circus poster from 1899 showing Native Americans attacking pioneers in covered wagons.

Circus poster showing Native Americans leading an attack against pioneers in covered wagons, with a portrait of Buffalo Bill on horseback.

In reality, Indigenous Americans were only interested in protecting their homes and people; many were heroes whose names you may know.

  • Have you ever heard of Crazy Horse?

Read on to discover the lengths this man went to to save his heritage.

When Christopher Columbus first arrived in the New World, he called the people he found there, “Indians.”

This was because Columbus thought he had sailed around the world from Europe to some islands off the coast of India. The name stuck and was applied to all the native people of North America for many years.

The terms American Indian, Native American, and even Indigenous American hide the important fact that these natives had dozens of independent nations, with their own unique histories, cultures, languages, and religions.

Sadly, some nations have disappeared forever, and no record exists.

One of the most famous Native nations, and one that is still strong today, is the Lakota Nation, also known as the Sioux (rhymes with blue).

Read more about the Lakota Indians and write down information and ideas to answer the following questions.

  • Where are the Lakota people located?
  • How have they moved over the centuries?
  • What was their relationship with the U.S. government over time?

After collecting your information, consider these additional questions.

  • How do you think Lakota people might reflect on their past?
  • Who are some important heroes from your people’s past?
  • What events, ideas, and feelings do those heroes of your people's past represent?

The history of Indigenous Americans is filled with many stories of brave heroes who led their people through challenging times.

In the Got It? section, learn about Crazy Horse — a hero who inspires the Lakota and many other Americans!

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