Last stand are the words used to describe Custer and his troops as they battled the combined might of the Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. It has been glamorized by Hollywood as an epic of heroics by Custer and his men in a fight where they were numerically outnumbered. They were also strategically outclassed by the leadership of supposedly ignorant Indians.
I bring this up today because on Saturday, June 25, 2005, will herald the 129th anniversary of the defeat of Custer and the demise of a once proud and vibrant culture. That this defeat of American military might clearly demonstrated that the Indians were serious in keeping the white man out of the Sacred Black Hills, that the Natives called the Center of the Earth was apparent. That they would do everything in their power to curtail the whites desires to exploit this Sacred site became the battle cry of the Nations in 1876.
More after the fold
Crossposted at European Tribune
Custer in his extraordinary arrogance, had been told to wait for the two other cavalry detachments that were under the leadership of General Philip Sheridan. Custer not known for his patience or his willingness to keep his ego in check, disobeyed his orders and the rest my friends is history.
In many Native communities, today is a National Day of Celebration, no there are no parades, speeches, or brouhaha to celebrate this vaunted victory over the oppressors of the Native peoples. There is a whisper of pride, the glimpse of knowing that our ancestors fought the good fight and defeated for an instant the demise of their culture. The Irony here is that this defeat of the American Army, occurred during the Centennial of the founding of the United States of American. There was much consternation and a demand that the Indians responsible for the slaughter of these soldiers needed to be brought to justice.
I am providing a few links for you to revisit the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the site where the end of a way life occurred because of a victory by the Native Americans to preserve their cultural right to live their lives. I hope that come Saturday, you will stop, listen to the wind, feel the sun upon your face and remember the culture that was lost that day. But also remember that a fiercely proud people are working to gain the rights that many of us take for granted each day of our lives.
Some of these sites have links to help set up an Indian Memorial on the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, please contribute if you can to help establish this important Memorial.
Some of the links may appear repetitive, but they will provide some distinctive analysis of what actually happened that day.
photographs of the area