Custer's Last Stand
Aug 3, 2013Public
Photo: Refreshed after a good night's sleep in Billings, Montana's largest city.
Photo: As I was packing the car, we noticed ducks in the pond
Photo: And here come the rest
Photo: Early birds getting their breakfast
Photo: Strawberry waffles you cook yourself, and very oh-so-western biscuits and gravy.
Photo: Driving on I-90 south of Billings.
Photo: Pretty flat, with lots of coulees.
Photo: And here we are: National Park #1. I had the song "Garryowen" blasting on the stereo.
Photo: Before 1991, this was called Custer Battlefield National Monument
Photo: They had a lot more focus on the Native Americans now. Our guide called them Indians, so I'll type that, too. It's shorter.
Photo: The Battle of the Little Bighorn was fought on June 25, 1876. It pitted the US 7th Cavalry Regiment's 640 men against 1500-2500 Sioux and Cheyenne warriors led by Chiefs Sitting Bull, Gall, and Crazy Horse. The Indian camp was along the Little Bighorn River.
Photo: I had visited the park with my family when I was younger. Dad is a big Little Bighorn fan.
Photo: The visitor center was very small and hasn't changed too much since I was here last time.
Photo: Lt Col George Armstrong Custer. He was breveted with the temporary rank of Major General during the Civil War. Dulce and I did some "research" beforehand, watching "They Died with Their Boots On" and "Little Big Man".
Photo: Custer was a very polarizing figure throughout the times, going from hero to daredevil to bumbler to villain. Dad knew him as a hero defying odds like the Alamo. I remember reading how he represented the evil Indian-hunting government. The truth was somewhere in the middle.
Photo: As a Civil War buff, I considered his attack a reckless glory-hunt. But I learned a lot more after this visit and reading Nathaniel Philbrick's "The Last Stand" and Evan Connell's "Son of the Morning Star". Thanks, Dad, for the recommendations.
Photo: Working on her Junior Ranger badge, they had to answer questions in the booklet and take part in a ranger-led program or movie. Anya, being older, had to work on more.
Photo: The 7th Cavalry were not cavaliers on blooded mounts. A surprising number were new immigrants. Contrary to old Western movies, most people did not readily enlist to serve in the frontier, so the Army took what it could get.
Photo: I was surprised to see Sitting Bull had a Lakota name "Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake". I knew they spoke their own language, but I had always thought they still addressed him as "Sitting Bull". Crazy Horse is "Tȟašúŋke Witkó", if you were wondering.
Photo: Sitting Bull gathered thousands of Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe Indians who resisted going to the reservations. The catalyst was the US taking over the Black Hills of South Dakota due to a gold rush. After this broken treaty, he had a vision of soldiers falling from the sky.
Photo: Another catalyst was the decimation of the bison, which the Indians used for many neat things.
Photo: Grant liked the dioramas and requested I take them
Photo: Last Stand Hill