Mr. Cleve Walstrom

Have you ever wondered what happened to the great warrior Crazy Horse after he was killed at Camp Robinson in northwestern Nebraska?

Cleve Walstrom, Marysville, Kansas, mortician, has sought an answer to the mystery of where Crazy Horse might be buried.  He has written a book about the legendary Lakota Sioux Warrier, Crazy Horse.  Over several years, Walstrom covered thousands of miles in his pursuit of the trails left by Crazy Horse, and has documented more than twenty possible burial sights.  Mystery continues to shroud the life and death of Crazy Horse, who was killed in 1877 at about the age of thirty-seven.  Walstrom offers the review of his book:

“I’m not sure why the spirit of Crazy Horse would seek out and touch a white man.  Crazy Horse did not like white men because they encroached upon his beloved wide-open prairie.  He detested their developments that chased away the buffalo his people depended on for food and clothing.  When the cold came roaring down the Plains, the buffalo faced those raging winds with its head into the white storm, as if it were cleaning itself from hardship and discomfort.  Those were the same winds blowing against Crazy Horse’s face as the footprints of white men stamped more and more across the land. 

South Dakota State Highway Sign

“Plenty has been written about Crazy Horse – most of it about the time of his killing at Camp Robinson, Nebraska.  Many people have speculated about what happened to him after his death.  A green South Dakota State Highway sign near Wounded Knee, South Dakota, lists four possible burial sites of Crazy Horse.  After hours of reading fragile army archive reports and other published accounts, and hearing Lakota oral history and family stories, I have found more possibilities than just those four. 

“Being a mortician, I was of interest in writing a book about why Crazy Horse’s burial ground remains a secret.  It has been documented that the parents even camped for one winter with the bones of Crazy Horse hung on a bag outside their tipi on land near the Missouri River close to Niobrara, Nebraska.  This land was later owned by my father. 

“This is a story about the compassion the parents had for the great war leader and about the grief they had for their lost son.  The U.S. Army had a reward for the head of Crazy Horse dead or alive.  (Army people were doing a study to measure the craniums of Native Americans hoping to prove that they were an inferior people.)  My book is about creating a mystery of why Crazy Horse’s parents made up stories about where the great warrior might be buried. 

“It’s about my journey with my father visiting with Lakota people and telling us that Crazy Horse was revered as much as Christians esteem Jesus.  Visiting with students at a class at Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud reservation, we were told, “Crazy Horse was a protector of the plans.”  He wanted his land to remain pristine and untouched.  Stories seemed to fall out of the sky and land on my lap.   

“My father was a veterinarian who worked cattle and treated sick dogs and cats on the Santee Sioux Reservation.  In his early seventies, he was diagnosed with cancer.  To cope with his illness, he wrote a book on the “Burial Sites of Sioux Nation Chiefs” which pays tribute to sixty-two Chiefs throughout Lakota Country.  He wrote a couple pages about Crazy Horse, whose burial remains a mystery.  Through the years I have collected stories about what may have happened to Crazy Horse after he was killed at Camp Robinson in Western Nebraska.

“After my father died, I spoke at a Lakota College about my father’s book.  The professor had previously told the students I was doing research on Crazy Horse and they might ask me about the great warrior.  The class was four hours long and I had been speaking for about forty-five minutes on the book my father had written, when a student stood up and raised his book and slammed it back on the table saying, “I came to hear about Crazy Horse!”  That’s when I realized that Crazy Horse is so memorialized by his people.  He was against alcohol and white men aggression of his hunting ground.  He hated white men.  Why would the spirit of Crazy Horse haunt me, a white man?

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Map from book

“One evening while visiting with Richard Moves Camp, he told me, “He [Crazy Horse] was a great warrior and we should remember his deeds and what he stood for.  The warrior belongs to the earth and the grass.  Mystery is what he believed in; he is in the spirit world and let that spirit be.  It has a life of its own, let it carry on.”

“In this book you will find interviews with descendants of the Black Elk family.  Black Elk was a famed Lakota Holy man and cousin of Crazy Horse.  Few know that Black Elk died a Catholic, Christened Nicholas Black Elk and Christianity was part of his funeral ceremony.

Chips and his wife

“Richard Moves Camp, a revered medicine man who’s grandfather Chips was the medicine man for Crazy Horse, endorses this book saying it has filled many gaps between our people.  It has helped us gain an understanding between white and Lakota Culture.  “It is good”.

“A Lakota archeology student asked me about dowsing (which is like water witching for deep wells only focusing on finding graves).  I am a mortician who is able to dowse for grave sites.  I tell a number of stories about finding graves and whether or not this method should be used to find Crazy Horse or not.

“I suppose you could say it is a story that has compassion for a culture that lost most of it’s land to violated treaties (which is illustrated by 15 detailed maps designed by a neighbor of mine as well as one hundred pictures of old friends of Crazy Horse and places he haunted).

Memorial Grave Stone
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