Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Custer's Last Stand

"There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the 7th cavalry."  -George Armstrong Custer

The Battle of Little Bighorn was fought between the 7th U.S. cavalry and an alliance of Indian tribes of mostly Sioux and Cheyenne along the Bighorn River in Montana on June 25, 1876.  It is commonly referred to as 'Custer's Last Stand.'
(Touring the grounds of the Little Bighorn National Park with my daughters, we are overcome with the peaceful serenity and natural beauty of the barren landscape.  It is an incredible place to journey to and amazing living historical monument, cemetery, and museum.)

Signing a treaty with the Lakota Sioux in 1868 promising the Black Hills of South Dakota would remain theirs forever,  then breaking their word when gold was discovered in those same hills, the U.S. army rushed in to mine for resources.  The Lakota refused to give up their ancestral land, led by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, they mounted an attack against Custer's forces, surrounding him, and wiping out his entire detachment of 210 men.
(There are miles of paved walkways and vistas marked with historical information and the museum, which is loaded with cool artifacts, has a movie theater as well.)

In the aftermath, the U.S. army doubled its efforts against the Sioux who were scattered among the plains.  Sitting Bull led his people into Canada, but later returned to reservation life where he was murdered by a group of his own people.  Crazy Horse surrendered but was also killed in revenge.
(This was a cool pilgrimage for my daughters after having studying the west and the Indian wars for many months, to come here, view this battlefield, was awesome.)

The Battle of Little Bighorn has lived on in legend, inaccuracy, and cinema including Disney's Tonka and the Errol Flynn movie They Died with Their Boots On.  

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