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Family of legendary Native American discuss ‘lost’ history


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Relatives of the legendary Native American leader Crazy Horse are crossing the country along with author and documentary filmmaker William Matson to lay claim to a history and heritage that the relatives say they were silent about for more than a century.

The group visited the Roswell Public Library Saturday afternoon for their 104th book signing for Matson’s 2016 work, “Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior’s Life and Legacy.” The historical book is based on the oral history of the Ed Clown branch of the Crazy Horse family, which includes Clown’s grandsons Floyd Clown and Doug War Eagle.

“We are making a tour of the country,” said Matson “We started on the West Coast, so we are about halfway through.”

Matson said that his father gave him a great gift by asking him to discover the true history of the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. Crazy Horse was credited as one of the people to lead the Lakotas and other Native American fighters to a victory over U.S. forces, including Lt. Col. George Custer. Matson also has written about other Native American leaders involved in the battle.

The author recounted his many years of research and his efforts to earn the trust of the Lakotas and the relatives of Crazy Horse so that he could document their stories.

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Doug War Eagle and Floyd Clown said that their family members, out of fear that the U.S. government would harm them, were taught for generations not to talk about their relationship with Crazy Horse. That changed in the 1990s when a court case over the rights to Crazy Horse’s name and legacy ensued, and Crazy Horse’s relatives were able in 2001 to use historical documents to create paternal and maternal blood trees proving their rights and the rights of about 3,000 other descendants to the Crazy Horse legacy.

The book, they say, gives a perspective on the battle and the Native American fighters never heard before, including what they say are Sitting Bull’s vision about the battle and about Crazy Horse’s death a year later.

“This was stuff our family knew for a long time,” said Floyd Clown, “but we couldn’t tell anyone.”

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