Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Mary Lyon: a Leader in Women's Education in the 19th Century"

FAITH LAPIDUS: Welcome to People in America in VOA Special English. Every week at this time, we tell the story of someone important in the history of the United States. Today, Steve Ember and Shirley Griffith tell about Mary Lyon. She was a leader in women's education in the nineteenth century.


STEVE EMBER: During the nineteenth century, women's education was not considered important in the United States. Supporters of advanced education for women faced many problems.

States did require each town to provide a school for children, but teachers often were poorly prepared. Most young women were not able to continue on with their education in private schools.

If they did, they often were not taught much except the French language, how to sew clothing, and music.

Mary Lyon felt that women's education was extremely important. Through her lifelong work for education she became one of the most famous women in nineteenth century America. She believed that women were teachers both in the home and in the classroom.

And, she believed that efforts to better educate young women also served God. If women were better educated, she felt, they could teach in local schools throughout the United States and in foreign countries.


SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Mary Lyon was born in Buckland, Massachusetts, in seventeen ninety-seven. Her father died when she was five years old. For Mary, hard work was a way of life. But she later remembered with great pleasure her childhood years in the home where she was born.

This is how she described what she could see from that house on a hill:

"The far-off mountains in all their grandeur, and the deep valleys, and widely extended plains, and more than all, that little village below, containing only a very few white houses, but more than those young eyes had ever seen."

STEVE EMBER: At the age of four, Mary began walking to the nearest school several kilometers away. Later, she began spending three months at a time with friends and relatives so she could attend other area schools. She helped clean and cook to pay for her stay.

When Mary was thirteen, her mother remarried and moved to another town. Mary was left to care for her older brother who worked on the family farm. He paid her a dollar a week. She saved it to pay for her education. Mary's love of learning was so strong that she worked and saved her small amount of pay so she could go to school for another few months.

Mary began her first teaching job at a one-room local school teaching children for the summer. She was seventeen years old. She was paid seventy-five cents a week. She also was given meals and a place to live.

Mary Lyon was not a very successful teacher at first. She did not have much control over her students. She always was ready to laugh with them. Yet she soon won their parents' respect with her skills.


SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: When Mary Lyon was twenty years old, she began a long period of study and teaching. A new private school opened in the village of Ashfield, Massachusetts. It was called Sanderson Academy.

Mary really wanted to attend. She sold book coverings she had made. And she used everything she had saved from her pay as a teacher. This was enough for her to begin attending Sanderson Academy.

At Sanderson, Mary began to study more difficult subjects. These included science, history and Latin. A friend who went to school with Mary wrote of her "gaining knowledge by handfuls." It is said that Mary memorized a complete book about the Latin language in three days. Mary later wrote it was at Sanderson that she received the base of her education.

STEVE EMBER: After a year at Sanderson Academy, Mary decided that her handwriting was not good enough to be read clearly. She was a twenty-one-year-old woman. But she went to the local public school and sat among the children so she could learn better writing skills.

In eighteen twenty-one, Mary Lyon went to another private school where she was taught by Reverend Joseph Emerson. Mary said he talked to women "as if they had brains." She praised his equal treatment of men and women when it came to educating them.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Three years later, Mary Lyon opened a school for young women in the village of Buckland. She called it the Buckland Female Seminary. Classes were held in a room on the third floor of a house.

Mary's students praised her teaching. She proposed new ways of teaching, including holding discussion groups where students exchange ideas.

Mary said it was while teaching at Buckland that she first thought of founding a private school open to daughters of farmers and skilled workers. She wanted education, not profits, to be the most important thing about the school. At that time, schools of higher learning usually were supported by people interested in profits from their investment.

STEVE EMBER: In eighteen twenty-eight, Mary became sick with typhoid fever. When her health improved, she decided to leave Buckland, the school she had started. She joined a close friend, Zilpah Grant, who had begun another private school, Ipswich Female Seminary.

At Ipswich, Mary taught and was responsible for one hundred thirty students. It was one of the best schools at the time. But it lacked financial support. Mary said the lack of support was because of "good men's fear of greatness in women." Zilpah Grant and Mary Lyon urged that Ipswich be provided buildings so that the school might become permanent. However, their appeal failed.


SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Mary resigned from Ipswich. She helped to organize another private school for women, Wheaton Female Seminary in Norton, Massachusetts. It opened in eighteen thirty-five.

She also began to raise money for her dream of a permanent, non-profit school for the higher education of women. This school would own its own property. It would be guided by an independent group of directors. Its finances would be the responsibility of the directors, not of investors seeking profit. The school would not depend on any one person to continue. And, the students would share in cleaning and cooking to keep costs down.

STEVE EMBER: Mary Lyon got a committee of advisers to help her in planning and building the school. She collected the first thousand dollars for the school from women in and around the town of Ipswich. At one point, she even lent the committee some of her own money. She did not earn any money until she became head of the new school.

Mary Lyon opened Mount Holyoke Seminary for Women in eighteen thirty-seven. It was in the town of South Hadley, Massachusetts. She had raised more than twelve thousand dollars. It was enough to build a five-story building.

Four teachers and the first class of eighty young women lived and studied in the building when the school opened. By the next year, the number of students had increased to one hundred sixteen. Mary knew the importance of what had been established -- the first independent school for the higher education of women.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: The school continued to grow. More students began to attend. The size of the building was increased. And, all of the students were required to study for four years instead of three.

Mary Lyon was head of the school for almost twelve years. She died in eighteen forty-nine. She was fifty-two years old.

She left behind a school of higher education for women. It had no debt. And it had support for the future provided by thousands of dollars in gifts.

In eighteen ninety-three, under a state law, Mount Holyoke Female Seminary became a college. Mount Holyoke College was the first college to offer women the same kind of education as was offered to men.

STEVE EMBER: People who have studied Mary Lyon say she was not fighting a battle of equality between men and women. Yet she knew she wanted more for women.

Her efforts led to the spread of higher education for women in the United States. Historians say she was the strongest influence on the education of American young people during the middle of the nineteenth century. Her influence lasted as the many students from Mary Lyon's schools went out to teach others.


SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: This Special English program was written by Vivian Bournazian. I'm Shirley Griffith.

STEVE EMBER: And I'm Steve Ember. Join us again next week at this same time for another People in American program on the Voice of America.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Lewis and Clark Expedition, Part Two"

This is Steve Ember. And this is Shirley Griffith, with the VOA Special English program Explorations. Today we finish the story of Lewis and Clark and the land they explored in the American Northwest. We also tell about plans to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of their exploration.


We have told how Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led a group of men and one woman across the American Northwest. The group was known as the Corps of Discovery. They began their trip on May fourteenth, 1804, in Saint Louis, near the central part of the country. It was more than one year before they reached the Pacific coast near the Columbia River. They had traveled by river, horse and foot more than six thousand six hundred kilometers.

Oregon Birds

President Thomas Jefferson asked Lewis to lead an exploration of the northwestern part of the country. He wanted Lewis to learn as much about the land, people, animals and plants as he could. Jefferson asked that Lewis write about the progress of his group each day. Lewis and Clark kept very careful records. Often, Lewis would use more than one thousand words to tell about an animal or a bird. Both men drew maps and pictures of what they saw.

The Corps of Discovery reached the Pacific Ocean near the present city of Astoria, Oregon. The group suffered a lot during that winter. It was not very cold, but it was always wet. It rained almost every day during the winter months between 1805 and 1806. Lewis wrote that everything got wet and stayed wet. Many of the men became sick. The men had little to do except hunt for food. They also made new clothing from animal skins for the return home.

William Clark organized most of the hunting during the long winter months. At the same time, he worked on his second map. The map showed where the group had been since it left the area that now is the north central state of North Dakota. It showed their travels all the way from there to Fort Clatsop on the West Coast. Clark drew a correct picture of the American West for the first time.

Fort Clatsop

Meriwether Lewis stayed inside Fort Clatsop and wrote, day after day, of the things they found. He wrote information about one hundred different animals they had seen. Of these, eleven birds, two fish, and eleven mammals had not been recorded before.

He also wrote about plants and trees. He had never seen many of these before. Neither had modern science known about them. He tried to make his reports scientific.

Modern scientists say his information is still good. They say he was extremely careful and provided valuable information for the time. Experts say Lewis wrote more like a scientist of today than one of his own century.


On March twenty-third, 1806, the explorers left Fort Clatsop and started back up the Columbia River. Progress was slow as the Corps of Discovery climbed higher toward the mountains. They traded with Indians for horses. In the month of May they stayed with a tribe called the Nez Perce 


The Nez Perce said it would not be possible for the explorers to cross the mountains then. The snow was still too deep. Lewis did not agree. The group went forward. They found the Nez Perce were right. The snow was several meters deep. They were forced to stop and return down the mountain.

Nez Perce meet Lewis and Clark

The Nez Perce agreed to provide guides to take them through the mountains. The Corps of Discovery finally crossed the mountains in the last days of June.

Lewis divided the Corps of Discovery when they left the mountains. He wanted three different groups to go three different ways to learn more about the land. Lewis and his group soon found Indians. They were members of the Piegan tribe, part of the Blackfeet, a war-like group.

At first the Indians were friendly. Then, one tried to take a gun from one of the men. A fight began. Two Indians were killed. It was the only time during the trip that any fighting took place between native Americans and the Corps of Discovery. The fight forced Lewis's group to leave the area very quickly.

The three groups met again in August of 1806. Traveling on the rivers was easier that in the beginning of their trip. The explorers now were going in the same direction as the current. They were in a hurry to get home. They had been away for two years and five months.

Each minute they traveled brought them closer to their homes, their families and friends. On September third, they saw several men traveling on the river. They learned that President Jefferson had been re-elected and was still president of the United States.

Mountain Man
A few days later, one member of the group asked Lewis and Clark if he could remain behind. He wanted to go with a group of fur traders that was returning to the area of the Yellowstone River. His name was John Colter. Colter returned up the river and into the wild land. Later Colter became the first American to see the Yellowstone Valley, which became the first national park, Yellowstone. He also became famous as one of the first mountain men in American history to open the way to the Rocky Mountains.

The Corps of Discovery reached Saint Louis on September twenty-third, 1806. They had very little food or supplies left, but they were back. Large celebrations were held in the small town. Lewis and Clark learned that most people believed they were dead. Lewis immediately wrote a long report to President Jefferson and placed it in the mail. A few days later President Jefferson knew they had arrived home safely and their trip had been a great success.


Experts today say the Lewis and Clark trip was one of the most important events in American history. They also agree that no two men could have done a better job or been more successful. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark added greatly to the knowledge of the American Northwest.

Clark's maps provided information about huge areas that had been unknown. Lewis discovered and told about one hundred seventy-eight new plants, most of them from the far West. He also found one hundred twenty-two different kinds of animals that had been recorded. There was also one great failure, however. Lewis and Clark were not able to find a way to reach the Pacific Ocean using rivers. There was no northwest passage that could be used by boats.

The Lewis and Clark expedition was also a political success. It helped the United States make a legal claim to a huge amount of land that had been bought by President Jefferson from France. The United States bought the land just as the Corps of Discovery began its trip. This land is now the middle part of the United States. It was called the Louisiana Territory. President Jefferson wanted the future United States to include this land, and all other land between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.


Now it is two hundred years since the Corps of Discovery made its historic trip. The United States has many plans to celebrate. Some celebrations will continue until the year 2006. Committees in the cities, towns and states that Lewis and Clark passed through are planning the anniversary celebrations.

The National Park Service is also preparing special events. New books have been published, newspaper stories written and television programs produced about Lewis and Clark. And the public is once again discovering the writings of the two men who led the Corps of Discovery. Critics say the word pictures that Lewis created are as clear today as when they were written.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were the first educated white Americans to travel across the land that would become the United States. They wrote about things the American public had never seen before. They saw Native Americans before the Indians were influenced by other cultures. Their success had a lasting influence.

They showed Americans it was possible to travel across the country and settle in the far West. Lewis and Clark's exploration was the beginning of the American campaign to settle that far away, wild land.


This program was written and produced by Paul Thompson. This is Shirley Griffith. And this is Steve Ember. Join us again next week at this time for another Explorations program, in Special English, here on the Voice of America.


1. It took The Corps of Discovery _________________ to reach the Pacific coast.
a: two years
b: six months
c: more than a year
d: less than a year

2. One mode of transportation the expedition didn't use was _________ .
a: foot
b: boat
c: horse
d: wagon

3. Modern scientists say that Meriwether Lewis's reports about plants, animals, and trees are __________________ .
a: not very accurate
b: still useful and full of good information
c: mostly correct, but contain some errors
d: about plants, animals, and trees already discovered

4. The Nez Perce indians ____________________ .
a: stole one of the explorer's weapons
b: caused the first conflict with the Americans
c: provided guides for the difficult journey through the mountains
d: said it was possible to make the trip in May

5. The only fighting that took place during the expedition was between the Corps of Discovery and the _______________ tribe.
a: Mandan
b: Piegan
c: Shoshoni
d: Nez Perce

6. On the way home, traveling by the rivers was easier because _____________
a: they were going in the same direction as the current
b: they were familiar with the route
c: they had stronger, larger boats
d: all of them had more experience traveling in the wilderness

7. John Colter decided to stay behind instead of continuing. He became an important_____________ .
a: writer
b: mountain man
c: fur trader
d: politician

8. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was a great success. It's only failure was that _________________ .
a: Sacagawea would not accompany them to Washington
b: they were not able to make treaties with Native Americans
c: they could find no Northwest Passage (trans continental river route)
d: they were unable to find any sources of gold, silver, or other precious metals

9. Another name for this article could be "_________________".
a: "Lewis and Clark's Indian Relations"
b: "The Nez Perce's Lifesaving Advice"
c: "The Corps of Discovery Returns Home"
d: "The Futile Search for the Northwest Passage"

10. This article is mainly about ___________________ .
a: the continuing adventures of the Lewis and Clark expedition as they head for home
b: the necessity of listening to Native Americans who are familiar with the land
c: the difficulty of traveling against the current of the Columbia River
d: the appreciation of President Jefferson for the outstanding effort of Lewis, Clark, and their group

Lewis and Clark Expedition: Part One
Lewis and Clark: Introduction

Also see more about the Nez Perce: Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"How to Get the Most out of a Workout" from VOA.

FAITH LAPIDUS: This is the VOA Special English program SCIENCE IN THE NEWS. I’m Faith Lapidus.

BOB DOUGHTY: And I’m Bob Doughty. Today, we will tell about physical exercise. We will tell why exercise is important, and some of the popular ways to get in shape.


FAITH LAPIDUS: Summer officially returns to the United States in less than two weeks. For many Americans, summer is a time to put on swim wear and spend time at the sea or a lake. But before going anywhere, they may want to lose any extra weight gained during the winter.

So, where does one get started? Diet is surely important, but diet alone will not do much good without an exercise plan. Health experts have long noted the importance of physical activity.

Exercise not only improves your appearance. It can also improve your health. Exercise helps to reduce the risk of some diseases. They include heart disease, stroke, type-two diabetes, osteoporosis and even some kinds of cancer.

BOB DOUGHTY: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. In two thousand six, heart disease killed more than six hundred thirty thousand Americans. High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels in blood can increase your risk of heart disease. Medical experts say both can be reduced through normal exercise.

Physical activity is also known to increase the release of endorphins. These chemicals reduce feelings of pain. They also help people feel more happy and peaceful. There is some debate about exactly what causes the brain to release endorphins. Some experts believe it is the act of exercising itself. Others say it is the feeling one gets from having met an exercise goal. Either way, the two things work together when it comes to improving one’s emotional health.


FAITH LAPIDUS: Surprisingly, exercise improves your energy levels by increasing the flow of blood to the heart and blood vessels. One of the main reasons people exercise is to control or reduce their weight. Physical activity burns calories – the energy stored in food. The more calories you burn, the easier it is to control or reduce your weight.

So exactly how much exercise do you need to do to gain all of these great health effects? Experts say it is easier than you think. Two years ago, the Centers for Disease Control released its first ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The report included suggestions for young people, adults, disabled persons and those with long-term health problems. One of the major ideas noted in the report is that some activity is better than none. So if you are not doing anything, now is the time to get started.

BOB DOUGHTY: The C.D.C. defines physical activity as anything that gets your body moving. And, it says there are two separate, but equally important kinds of physical activity. Aerobic or cardio exercise gets your heart rate going faster and increases your breathing. Some examples are activities like walking at an increased speed, dancing, swimming or riding a bicycle.

Muscle-strengthening activities help build and strengthen muscle groups in the body. This kind of exercise includes things like lifting weights, or doing sit-ups and push-ups.

FAITH LAPIDUS: To get the most from your exercise plan, experts say adults should get at least two and a half hours of aerobic exercise each week. More intense activities reduce the suggested amount of time to one hour and fifteen minutes. Examples are playing basketball, swimming and distance running.

Earlier advice from the C.D.C. said people need to exercise thirty minutes each day for at least five days to get the health benefits of exercise. More recent research suggested that those gains are the same whether you exercise for short periods over five days or longer sessions over two or three days.

In addition, the newer suggestions say any exercise plan should include at least two days of muscle training. Each exercise period should be at least ten minutes long. The total amount of activity should be spread over at least three days throughout the week. Most importantly, experts say people should choose physical activities that they find fun. This helps to guarantee that they stay with the program.


BOB DOUGHTY: So, what are some of the most popular physical activities in the United States? Walking tops the list. A two thousand six report from the C.D.C. found that more than seventy-nine million Americans walk to stay physically fit. For many people it is considered the easiest way to get exercise. It does not require a health club membership. Walking is safe. And, it is said be to as valuable for one’s health as more intense forms of exercise like jogging. Walking is also reported to be less damaging to the knees and feet. This makes it a better choice of exercise for older adults.

FAITH LAPIDUS: Another popular form of exercise is jogging, or running at a slow to medium speed. USA Track and Field Hall of Famer, Bill Bowerman, is credited with bringing jogging to the United States in the nineteen seventies. He did so after witnessing the popularity of the activity himself during a trip to New Zealand in the nineteen sixties. He started the first running club in America and wrote a book about jogging for fitness. Bill Bowerman also helped establish Nike, the tennis shoe company.

Jogging provides great physical conditioning for the heart and lungs. And, it increases the flow of blood and oxygen in the body. All of these things combined help to improve heart activity, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce bone and muscle loss. Running is also a good way to lose weight. People burn an average of one hundred sixty calories a kilometer while running.

BOB DOUGHTY: The Census Bureau says swimming was the third most popular sports activity in the United States in two thousand seven. The top two were walking and exercising with equipment. Swimming is said to be one of the best ways to exercise. Nearly all of the major muscle groups are put to work.

A swimmer

Swimming also presents less risk of muscle and joint injury because of the body’s weightlessness in water. This makes it a great choice of exercise for people with special needs, like pregnant women, older adults, and persons who are overweight.

Water aerobics is another popular form of exercise. This can be anything from walking or running against the resistance of water, to doing jumping jacks in the water. There is a debate about whether or not swimming burns as many calories as other forms of exercise. But one thing is sure: the effects on your health are just as great.


FAITH LAPIDUS: Whatever kind of exercise you choose, experts agree that you should start small and work your way up. Start by exercising ten minutes a day two times a week. After a few weeks, increase your time to fifteen or twenty minutes, and increase the number of days.

Next, try to increase the intensity of your workout. If you have been walking, try walking faster, or take turns between walking and jogging. And try not to forget those muscle strengthening exercises. The more time you spend exercising, the more health benefits you get.

Health experts advise people who have been physically inactive to have a complete physical exam before beginning a new exercise program.

BOB DOUGHTY: If one of your goals is to lose weight, you will also need to change how and what you eat. To lose weight, you must use or burn off more calories than you take in.

A pound of fat is equal to about four hundred fifty three grams or three thousand five hundred calories. To lose that fat in a week, you have to burn off at least that amount in calories or eat that much less. The best thing to do is to combine both ideas. Eat fewer calories and increase your activity so that you burn off more.

The National Institutes of Health suggests that women limit their calories to no less than one thousand two hundred calories a day without medical supervision. For men, the number is no less than two thousand five hundred. The American government also says a healthy diet is one that is high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.


FAITH LAPIDUS: This SCIENCE IN THE NEWS was written by June Simms. Our producer was Brianna Blake. I’m Faith Lapidus.

BOB DOUGHTY: And I’m Bob Doughty. Join us again next week for more news about science in Special English on the Voice of America.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Crazy Horse, Leader of the Lakota Sioux" from VOA.

I’m Phoebe Zimmermann. And I’m Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program PEOPLE IN AMERICA. Today, we tell the story of a Native American, Crazy Horse. He was a leader of the Lakota Indians. Some people call his tribe the Oglala Sioux.


Crazy Horse's people belonged to one of seven great families who called themselves Lakota. The word Lakota means friends or allies.

The Lakota people were hunters. They moved with the seasons. They moved through the great flat lands and the great mountains of the north-central United States. The Lakota depended on wild animals for food and clothing, and for the materials to make their tools and homes. They depended especially on the buffalo, the great hairy ox-like creature. Huge groups of buffalo ran free across their lands.

Great changes came to the Indian territories during the middle eighteen hundreds. The population of the United States was growing. Settlers left the cities of the East for the wide open spaces of the West. The settlers followed the railroads extending across the continent. More settlers moved west when gold was discovered in California in eighteen forty-nine.

The ways of the settlers were not the ways of the Indians. The culture of the white people clashed with the culture of the red people -- often in violence.

The United States army was sent to move the Indians and protect the settlers. Many Indian tribes refused to move. Their lands, they said, contained the bones of their fathers and mothers. It was holy ground. They fought the soldiers.

Crazy Horse's tribe, the Lakota, had many powerful leaders and skilled warriors. Crazy Horse, himself, was greatly feared. The soldiers could not defeat him in battle. Most white people did not understand why the Lakota fought so hard. They knew little of the Indians' way of life. They did not know Crazy Horse at all.

Much of what we have learned about Crazy Horse came from his own people. Even today, they still talk about him. To the Lakota, he was both a warrior and a holy man.


No one knows for sure when Crazy Horse was born. Perhaps around the year eighteen forty. But we do know when he died. In eighteen seventy-seven, when he was in his middle thirties.

There are no photographs of Crazy Horse. But it is said that he was not very tall. And his skin was lighter than most of the Lakota people.

As a boy, Crazy Horse loved to listen to the teachings of the Lakota religion. His father was a holy man of the tribe -- a medicine man. He taught the boy to honor all things, because all things had a life of their own. Not only people and animals had spirits, he said, but trees and rivers, as well. Above all was the Great Spirit.

Crazy Horse's father also told him that a man should be judged only by the goodness of his actions. So the boy tried hard to tell the truth at all times and not to speak badly of others.

Crazy Horse learned to be a hunter. He could lie quietly for hours watching wild animals. When he killed a bird or a deer, he always sang a prayer of thanks and sorrow. He always gave the meat to the poor and to the families that had no hunters. That was what Lakota chiefs did.

In time, Crazy Horse learned that the Indians were not alone in their world. He watched one day as tribesmen brought back the body of one of the chiefs, Conquering Bear. The chief had been shot many times by soldiers after a dispute over a white man's cow. Two times in the next few years, young Crazy Horse saw the burned remains of Indian villages. All the village people, including women and children, had been shot by soldiers.

All these events helped shape the personality of the young Indian. Crazy Horse became very quiet. He would go away from his village and spend days alone.

His people began to call him "the strange one." The name Crazy Horse -- in the language of the Lakota -- meant wild horse.


When it was time for him to plan his future, his father took him high into the mountains. Together, they sang a prayer to the Great Spirit, a prayer like this:

"Grandfather, Great Spirit, you have existed always, and before you there was no one. Stand close to the Earth that you may hear the voice I send. You, where the sun goes down, look at me! You, where the snow lives...you, where the day begins...you, where the summer lives ... you, in the depths of the heavens, look at me! And you, Mother Earth. Give me eyes to see and the strength to understand, that I may be like you. Only with your power can I face the winds."

Crazy Horse stayed on the mountain by himself for three days and nights. He did not eat or drink. He prayed that the Great Spirit would send him a dream to show him how to live.

Crazy Horse dreamed. He entered the world of truth and of the spirits of all things. The Lakota people called this "the real world". They believed our world was only an image of the real world.

In his dream, Crazy Horse saw a man riding a horse through clouds of darkness and battle. Bullets flew around him, but did not hit him.

The man wore a stone under one ear, and a bird feather in his hair. His body was painted with sharp white lines, like lightning. A light followed him, but it was sometimes covered by darkness.

Crazy Horse understood the dream as a sign. He knew his people were entering a time of darkness. He dressed himself like the man in the dream, so that no bullets would hurt him. He would try to save his land for his people. He would try to protect their way of living.

Crazy Horse prayed every day -- as the sun rose, at noon, and as night came. He prayed whenever he had something difficult to do. The prayer songs would carry him back to the peace of "the real world". He would know the right thing to do.

In the village, Crazy Horse did not keep things for himself. He even gave away his food. If others needed the food more, he would not eat at all. Crazy Horse spent much of his time with the children. He talked and joked with them. Yet his eyes looked through the children. He seemed to be thinking of something else.


Crazy Horse fought in more than twenty battles against the American army. He was never hit by an enemy's bullet. In battle, his mind was clear. "Be brave!" the young men would shout as they followed him into battle. "The Earth is all that lasts."

But the Earth the Indians knew did not last. The government would take most of it. The army destroyed Indian villages and captured those who would not surrender.

Almost all the buffalo were gone, killed by white hunters. The people were hungry. Many Lakota and other Indians came to Crazy Horse for protection.

The government sent a message to Crazy Horse. It said if he surrendered, his people could live and hunt on a part of the land that he chose. Crazy Horse and his people could fight no more. They accepted the government offer. They surrendered.

The government, however, did not keep its promise to let them choose where they would live. Several months later, on September fifth, eighteen seventy-seven, Crazy Horse went to the army commander to make an angry protest. Guards arrested him. He struggled to escape. A soldier stabbed him with a knife. The great Lakota Indian chief died the next day.

In nineteen thirty-nine, the tribe asked an artist to make a statue of Crazy Horse. The Indians wanted a huge statue cut into the side of a mountain. It would show Crazy Horse riding a running horse, pointing his arm to where the Earth meets the sky -- to the lands of the Lakota people. The tribe told the artist: "We would like the white man to know the red man had great heroes, too."

If you visit the mountain to see the statue, you may hear in the wind the song of an old man. He sings:

"Crazy Horse, your people depend on you. Be brave. Defend your people!"


This Special English program was written by Barbara Dash. It was produced by Mario Ritter. Our studio engineer was Sulaiman Tarawaley. I’m Steve Ember. And I’m Phoebe Zimmermann. Join us again next week for another PEOPLE IN AMERICA program on the Voice of America.


1. "Lakota" means "__________________".
a: warriors
b: friends
c: people
d: hunters

2. The Indians fought the white man's army because ________________ .
a: they didn't want to move from their land
b: they wanted to invade the United States
c: they had kidnapped several white settlers
d: they wanted to destroy the railroads

3. Crazy Horse's father taught him about __________________ .
a: fighting
b: hunting
c: religion
d: farming

4. After Crazy Horse saw the body of Conquering Bear and burned Indian villages, he _________________ .
a: lead the Indians into several battles
b: adopted the name "Wild Horse".
c: went to the mountains with his father and prayed to the Great Spirit
d: gave the buffalo he killed to the poor people

5. The Lakota believed that this world was __________________ .
a: always going to be a place of trouble
b: a rich hunting ground full of endlessly available game
c: only an image of "The Real World" discovered by the spirit in dreams
d: a place where Indians would always be second-class citizens

6. The United States government promised that if Crazy Horse surrendered, ___________________________.
a: his people could live on a part of the land that he chose
b: the government would give the children of his tribe a free education
c: the government would move the Lakota Sioux to a very nice reservation
d: an American university would award Crazy Horse an honorary degree

7. When Crazy Horse protested that the government hadn't kept its promise, _____________.
a: his complaint was investigated
b: guards arrested him, and when he struggled to get away, a soldier killed him
c: a new agreement with the Indians was signed by the president
d: the Lakota Sioux were given a larger, better piece of land with running water

8. A huge statue of Crazy Horse cut into the side of a mountain shows him _______________.
a: killing a white man
b: hunting a buffalo with a bow and arrow
c: pointing to where the earth meets the sky
d: painting himself according to the vision in his dream

9. The role of the U.S. Army in the 1800s was not to _______________.
a: protect the settlers
b: move the Indians
c: build strong forts
d: protect the Indians

10. The way of life for the Lakota Sioux remained pretty much the same until _______________.
a: the late 1700s
b: the middle of the 19th Century
c: the 1990s
d: the Spanish Conquest of South America

This is a youtube video showing the progress of the sculpture project in 2008: