The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana means many things to many people. This is where, in the same year that our country was celebrating its 100th year of freedom from the tyranny of Great Britain, the United States government sent Lt. Col. George A. Custer and the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry, aided by Crow Indian scouts, to subdue and cage the freest people to ever live on North American soil, i.e. one of the last groups of American Indians to resist being herded into the reservation system, the Lakota/Sioux and Northern Cheyenne, lead by chiefs: Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. However, as Sitting Bull’s prophetic dream foretold, Custer and his men were overwhelmingly defeated and rather than reveling in the “glory of war” (as Custer seemed to view it) 220 United States soldiers found themselves buried together in a mass grave.
The below painting on deer hide is on display at the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum of the West in Cody Wyoming. We saw this just a few days ago, which was several weeks after visiting the battlefield in Montana.
There is so much history and food for thought provoked by this bloodstained ground that one can hear it calling out from the graves. The life of Sitting Bull alone has for several months now dominated my fireside moments of solitude as I try to put together a few more puzzle pieces to the complex story of our past.
The below photos relating to Sitting Bull were taken at the museum/gift shop on the battlefield memorial grounds in Montana.
The Indians have been badly used. They have their side of the story. For honesty and virtue, I think the Indians are ahead of the whites. Where is the white man who would not fight if everything were taken away from him? I’ dog-goned if I wouldn’t. They were here first, and have a better right to be here than we have.” – Buffalo Bill Cody
The bow and arrows are said to have belonged to Sitting Bull.
There are two cemeteries at the battlefield monument, the largest one is for veterans of any American wars, from the Indian wars up to Vietnam and another cemetery that memorializes where Custer and his men fell and a mass grave site.
I took a picture of the stones below because I thought the name of the Indian inscribed on one of them was interesting. Later in the day I found that “White Man Runs Him” was a Crow Indian Scout for Custer.
White Man Runs Him – Crow Scout for Custer
The small cemetery below does not contain the bodies of Custer or his men; it used to, but the bodies were later moved to a mass grave just a few feet away and Custer’s and other officer’s bodies were taken to various cemeteries around the country, with Custer’s going to West Point.
The grave markers in the small cemetary as well as markers scattered around the grounds of the battlefield are placed as accurately as possible where Custer’s men fell. The stone with a black surface, approximately in the center of the below stones, is where Custer is said to have fallen.
Below is the location of the mass burial, under and around the memorial stone.
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