This morning, after leaving Bonnie and David Andes’s place in Bozeman, we continued on our travels. Our goal, in a couple of days, is York,Nebraska to visit some friends from a along time ago in Michigan.
However, as we were moving along, I realized that the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument was just off the freeway – so we stopped.
I also discovered that the National Park Services thinks I am worthy of a lifetime pass!
The Battle of the Little Bighorn, known to the Lakota and other Plains Indians as the Battle of the Greasy Grass and commonly referred to as Custer’s Last Stand, was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho anti-treaty tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment. The battle, which occurred June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876.
Needless to say, this battle didn’t turn out very well for Gorge Armstrong Custer. In a little more than 2 hours, from start to finish, the warriors was engaged and fighting ended. The total casualty count for U.S. Cavalry was 268 with 55 severely wounded. The various Indian participates, from the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho, didn’t loose that many warriors.
Upon our arrival at the Monument, we sat through a very informative Ranger Talk about the battle bringing the history to life through his story telling.
The one take away line, for me, was this was a battle between Euro-Americans and Native-Americans – with no one really winning on either side, and no understanding of the cultural differences that engendered the fight.
There are several sites to view as part of the Monument including the area where Custer had is “last stand” and the spot is marked where he fell. Throughout the area there are white markers for where U.S. Cavalry fell and red markers for locations of known Indian deaths.
This is a solemn spot with lots of history – none of which is really good for either side.
Across the road from the Cavalry Monument is an Indian Monument placed by the local Indian tribes.
After leaving the Monument, and getting back on the highway, it is clear the land hasn’t changed much in the last 200 years!