Horse not subject of photo, research proves 1872 photo really shows
Stabber, who attended Washington peace talks.
The legend is true. The history is correct.
Horse never posed for a photograph. At least not the one Tim Giago
from a PBS show who study historical mysteries have determined that
a photograph believed to be the only one of the legendary Lakota
leader is in fact that of another man, Giago said.
has owned the photo for more than a quarter century and in recent
months decided to learn the truth behind the image.
photo is of a Lakota man named Stabber, Giago said. The PBS researchers
revealed that to him before they returned to New York City last
said while he's disappointed in a way, in another way it's fitting
that the photo is not Crazy Horse.
all the legends that he never had a photo taken are true," he said.
was one of 24 Lakota men who accompanied Red Cloud to Washington,
D.C., for peace talks in 1872. While they were there, most if not
all the men posed for photos.
Gardner, whose studio was at 921 Pennsylvania Ave., took the photos.
A "History Detectives" staffer found the original glass negative
of the photo in capital archives and learned that it was a picture
of Stabber, not Crazy Horse, who never went to Washington.
Horse and Red Cloud didn't get along at all, according to Giago,
so it's no surprise he wasn't there for the peace talks.
researcher learned the names of all 25 delegates, Giago said, so
the photo did lead to an important addition to Lakota history.
to create a lasting peace between invading whites and Native Americans
collapsed in 1874 when the Custer Expedition confirmed there was
gold in the Black Hills, which led to the illegal invasion of Paha
Sapa, the Native sacred soil.
two years, on June 25, 1876, Custer and more than 250 of his men
were wiped out in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Crazy Horse
was one of the leaders of the Indians who defeated the 7th Calvary
gift from an admirer
photo came into Giago's possession 27 years ago when he was the
editor and publisher of the Lakota Times, which he founded.
man he recalls only as Mr. Evans stopped by to see him. Evans was
an admirer of the paper and Giago and had a gift for him.
was a very old leather pouch, tied with leather strings and lined
with green velvet, Giago said.
items were inside: an old-fashioned wood-framed picture with the
words Crazy Horse written beneath it and a letter, dated 1904, written
in Lakota. The letter, signed by Ben Black Elk, said the photograph
was one of his "good friend Crazy Horse."
told Giago that a Native American employee of his at a construction
company needed money and had pawned the items. Evans paid to recover
them when the worker said they were important relics, Giago was
thought Giago should have them. "He thought the picture should come
to me. Gave it to me and I never saw him again," he said. "Had it
all these years and never done anything with it."
2008, Giago, who turns 75 this year, decided he should have the
picture and letter investigated.
Sprague, who works at Crazy Horse Memorial, examined it and asked
Giago why he had kept it hidden away for so many years.
was busy with a whole lot other things," Giago said.
he's retired and has more time on his hands. He decided to have
the photo checked out.
least the Lakota people should know about it, Giago reasoned.
is an enrolled Minnicoujou Lakota and adjunct instructor in undergraduate
and graduate studies for Black Hills State University in American
Indian studies, political science, education, history and art. He
knew people at "History Detectives" so he asked them to do the research.
Last fall, the items were sent to them, Giago said. "They said they
would treat it like gold," he said.
hoped the photo was authentic. "I think it is," he said last week.
"Because of the letter that came with it."
was written in "very old Lakota, ancient Lakota," he said.
Beard wrote the letter for his "son," Ben Black Elk. Giago said
he's not sure if Black Elk, whose father's story was told in the
classic book "Black Elk Speaks," was actually Beard's son.
was a witness to and survivor of Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee.
"That's what threw me off, that his name was on it," Giago said.
27 years while the photo, letter and satchel remained locked away,
a mystery was waiting to be solved.
was a real image of Crazy Horse, Giago wanted it placed somewhere
people, especially Lakota people, could view it. He also admitted
to wondering how much it was worth.
myth and the man
Horse was and still is a hero among the Lakota people, Giago said.
His heroic feats on the battlefield, leadership skills and murder
on Sept. 5, 1877, created an enduring myth around a very real man.
Lakota leaders don't quite measure up, he said.
Bull's sort of added a little gray to his name when he joined Buffalo
Bill Cody's Wild West Show," Giago said. "Crazy Horse never put
his name on a treaty, maintained his freedom for his own people
until the day he came in and surrendered at Fort Robinson."
fitting that this latest effort to learn more about Crazy Horse
came in a trip to his homeland.
to numerous reports and interviews with people who knew him, Crazy
Horse was born about 1840 on the banks of what is now called Rapid
Creek. His birth name was "In The Wilderness" or "Among the Trees."
grew to become an accomplished horseman, hunter and warrior. Some
accounts said he was relatively fair-skinned with light-colored
disputes that and said that came from Mari Sandoz's 1942 book on
photo Giago had was of a "pure, full-blood Indian," he said, and
he believes that's what Crazy Horse looked like.
"Curly" was his nickname, Giago said Crazy Horse once rode a horse
whose mane was tangled and curly, which led to the nickname.
name Crazy Horse is often misinterpreted by people unfamiliar with
sort of wild horse rather than crazy," he said.
not a fan of the Crazy Horse Memorial, which he calls "a disgrace."
He feels carving a mountain in the sacred Black Hills is an inappropriate
way to honor a Lakota legend.
said he told Ruth Ziolkowski, the matriarch of the Crazy Horse Memorial,
years ago that he had a photo that might be Crazy Horse and she
declined to see it. He said the face on the mountain bothers him.
think it's certainly not (Crazy Horse) -- it's a generic Indian,"
Giago said. "Why give it the name of one of the famous Lakota warriors?"
"History Detectives" team is Elyse Luray, Wes Cowan, Tukufu Zuberi,
and Gwen Wright. Megan Lardner is the show's director and producer.
Jan. 29, the "History Detectives" crew arrived at Giago's house
in two vehicles. Luray drove a mini van that Lardner and the show's
director of photography, Chuck Moss, filmed winding down Giago's
crew shot much of the show's footage multiple times. Lardner said
various takes will help slowly reveal the truth about Giago's photo.
like to show a story that tells a bigger story," Luray said. "We
like to show people how they're connected to American history and
this was a good chance to tell the story of the Lakota Indians and
has been with the show for seven years. She has an art history background
and worked for "Antiques Roadshow" on PBS before joining "History
story starts here [in South Dakota] and ends, with his death in
a different spot," she said.
historical mysteries don't make it on the show, Luray said. Researching
and authenticating artifacts can take a long time.
depends on what it is and how accessible archives and libraries
and historical societies are," she said. Researching an artifact
can take from six weeks to a full year.
of the filming took place in Giago's study. Filled with sound equipment
and bright lights, the room in the house on the edge of Rapid City
was crowded. The crew, two local sound technicians, a director of
photography, an associate producer, the show's host, Giago and the
director all worked in the close quarters.
loud cries of "Cut" or "Action" were heard and all of the direction
from Lardner was positive and polite. The crew filmed scenes interviewing
Giago and then asked him to change clothes.
then staged a second scene, supposedly much later, in which they
met with a second time to tell him the man in the photo was not
crew also filmed scenes at Crazy Horse Memorial, where they met
with Sprague and Ziolkowski to film scenes for the show.
program airs Mondays during the summer on PBS. The piece on Giago's
photo will air as a 15-minute segment of a show this summer, according
to a "History Detectives" staffer.
a great story," said spokeswoman Pat Kruis.
still has the photo, the letter and the leather pouch. What does
he plan to do with the 137-year-old image of the Lakota man Stabber?
said he plans to work with Sprague to find relatives of Stabber
-- and give the photo to them.
Andy Jacobs contributed to this story.