Tuesday, June 28, 2011

THE BATTLE BEGINS

IMG_2243 Dave Riley, who graduated with our class, is the Director of the Custer’s Last Stand Re-enactment.

Each year near or on the anniversary of the Battle of the Little Big Horn (June 25, 1876), a group of 200 dedicated people get together and perform a piece of history.

IMG_2262 During the seven years that we lived in Billings not once did we go to this re-enactment. This year the Class of 1967 attended the battle.

There are actually two re-enactments and neither are at the actual battlefield. The one we attended is held six miles west of Hardin, MT. The other re-enactment is held by the Real Bird family on Indian land near the battlefield. Next time I want to attend this re-enactment.

IMG_2247 Probably no single event in American History continues to inspire and provoke controversy as does the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Was this a major victory for the Indians or was it the beginning of the end of their way of life? Probably some of both.

IMG_2249 In 1964 notes written by Crow tribal historian Joe Medicine Crow who is a direct descent of Custer scout White Man Runs Him, were used to write the script for this re-enactment. He wanted to present the battle history from the Indian perspective. The reenactment continued each year in Crow Agency until 1973, when the production was cancelled because there had been a good deal of political unrest and the American Indian Movement had threatened violence to the reenactment. In 1990 when the Hardin Chamber of Commerce decided to revive the old script and bring back the show.

IMG_2295This is a picture of Joe Medicine Crow. He is 97 years old but still very active. He sang a song of praise for Custer at the beginning of the show. Wonder if he’s like to meet my 97 year old Aunt. Both of them are still going strong. He was really cute because he just had to look at the picture in the camera to make sure it was a good one.

IMG_2244 I’m sure most of you know about this battle where Custer and all his men were killed by the Lakota Sioux Indians. Some people say that Custer was an egotistical leader who would not listen to any of his men and others say he was a great tactical leader as proven by his victories during the Civil War.

IMG_2273 Custer was admitted to West Point in 1858, where he graduated last in his class. However, with the outbreak of the Civil War, all potential officers were needed, and Custer was called to serve with the Union Army. He fought at Gettysburg and also at Appomattox . He became the youngest major general, the youngest in the history of the US Army. After the Civil War he was asked to go west to help fight in the Indian Wars.

IMG_2292 If you’ve never read anything about Custer, you might want to check in on him. He really was a very interesting and controversial individual.

IMG_2288 Some of the major players on the Indian side of the war were:

Sitting Bull - leader of the Hunkpapa band of the Teton Sioux Indians.
Crazy Horse - one of the four warrior chiefs of the Lakota.
Red Cloud - a great Lakota warrior

Everyone knows the outcome of this battle. Custer and his men were defeated and Custer and over 200 of his men were killed.

A fascinating time in American History.

video

8 comments:

  1. Oh my! How fascinating and a lot of fun that would certainly be!

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  2. what a great way to recreate history..love the 97 year old gent!..so cute!!!

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  3. GREAT post. History is so fascinating. I wonder what will be written about our generation 150 - 200 years from now. Of course everything that happens now is on You Tube and Face Book or video taped by the news media, but still interpretations can and do exist. Which controversary will they still be talking about in 2211? I wonder...

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  4. I would love to see the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The author I am reading right now writes about the settling of Montana Territory (before it was a state). It is so interesting to read about the Battle of the Little Bighorn. I am sure you know this, but people actually thought Custer would have been elected president had he lived. Also from all my reading, I believe it was the beginning of the end for the Indians. Very sad story!
    Great blog! Love history.

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  5. It was certainly a controversial time in our country's history. Very interesting.

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  6. I would love to see one of these re-enactments one day. They look amazing.

    Kevin and Ruth
    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  7. I enjoy learning about history from the "other" side. The insights I gain are amazing.

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