How did American Indians view Gen. George Crook, who fought so many of them during the Indian Wars?
St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
General William Tecumseh Sherman called Gen. George Crook the “greatest Indian-fighter and manager the army of the United States ever had,” Crook’s aide John Gregory Bourke remembered. Indians also highly regarded Crook, both as a warrior and a peacemaker.
Crook was a brilliant strategist, whose knowledge of individual tribes improved his chances of victory. For example, in Arizona, he employed Apache scouts to track down Geronimo and others.
In his last years, Crook spoke out against injustices suffered by his former Indian enemies—including the deportation and imprisonment of Apache scouts who had served him well.
In my opinion, Crook’s greatest tribute came from Sioux Chief Red Cloud who, upon learning of his death in 1890, said, “He, at least, had never lied to us. His words gave the people hope.”
Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone. If you have a question, write:
Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at email@example.com