04 November 2004

Disrespectful: The Crazy Horse Saloon

Now there's a legitimate French target...


Crazy Horse Saloon a Sitting Duck for Sioux Rebuke

The Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris has so far declined a demand to change its name delivered by the descendants of the famous Indian chief of the same name.

Members of the Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse’s family say the cabaret’s use of the name shows lack of respect towards their ancestor and to Sioux culture.

The present chief, Alfred Red Cloud, in Paris to attend a North American cultural festival, personally delivered a letter to the cabaret on behalf of Crazy Horse’s direct descendants and the tribe. Red Cloud said the purpose of the letter was not to seek the closure of the cabaret but to have its name changed. He said he hoped the owners would understand, adding that the name had been used without the family’s permission being sought. The meeting between Red Cloud and The Crazy Horse management is reported to have been friendly but brief.
Red Cloud said that the cabaret had been featured on American television, complaining that “it showed women in feathered head-dresses”. He added that every time a lack of respect was shown to his people and their culture it caused offence. If no response was obtained he indicated that the matter would not end there. The warrior’s ancestors took legal action in 1993 when an American brewer brought out a beer called The Original Crazy Horse Malt Liquor.
In 1876 Crazy Horse played a leading role alongside the native American leader Sitting Bull in the Battle of the Little Big Horn when their forces wiped out an army unit led by General George Custer. One year later Crazy Horse, still in his early forties, was stabbed in the back when he left the Sioux reservation to seek help for his sick wife. A hero in life and a legend after his death, his name is forever linked with battles such as Little Big Horn, his exploits the bedrock of every epic Western.

When the late Alain Bernardin set up and named The Crazy Horse in 1951, he could not have thought his descendants, who now run and have greatly expanded the business, would themselves one day face a Sioux attack.


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