Encouraging Bear

Encouraging Bear, also known as Horn Chips (Lakota: Ptehé Wóptuȟ’a (in Standard Lakota Orthography)), was a noted Oglala Lakota medicine man, and the spiritual advisor to Crazy Horse.[1]

Horn Chips was born in 1824 near Ft. Teton.[2][1] He was orphaned as a young child and raised by his grandmother.[1] Later he was adopted by the uncle of Crazy Horse.

Chips and Crazy Horse were raised together.[3] He is said to have had the gift of prophecy, being able to change the weather, and find lost objects and missing people. He is also acknowledged as the man who saved traditional Lakota religion from extinction and trained a number of successors.

Chips was present when Crazy Horse was killed. When the soldier jerked the bayonet from Crazy Horse's body, he hit Chips in the shoulder with the butt and dislocated his shoulder. Chips buried Crazy Horse, and he was the only person who knew the body's location.

Horn Chips contributed to the popularity of a Lakota healing ceremony called yuwipi.[4]

He was interviewed about Crazy Horse in 1907.[5] Chips, who had a wife and four children, reportedly renounced his faith for Catholicism shortly before his death in 1913[2] or 1916.[1]


  • Hirschfelder, Arlene, and Molin, Paulette. Encyclopedia of Native American Religions: An Introduction. (New York: Facts on File, 1992)
  1. ^ a b c d Sprague, Donovin Arleigh (2004). Pine Ridge Reservation. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-3357-5.
  2. ^ a b "Noted Oglala Medicine Man Kept Crazy Horse's Secret". Rapid City Journal. 1951-02-11. p. 2. Retrieved 2020-09-29.
  3. ^ "Horn Chips Recalls Crazy Horse". www.astonisher.com. Retrieved 2020-10-11.
  4. ^ Feraca, Stephen E. (2001-03-01). Wakinyan: Lakota Religion in the Twentieth Century. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-6905-7.
  5. ^ Hardorff, Richard G. (2001-01-01). The Death of Crazy Horse: A Tragic Episode in Lakota History. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-7325-2.