Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Indians, Indians and Custer

Location: Hardin KOA (el. 3,000 ft); Hardin, Montana

(click pictures to enlarge)
(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)

One of the reasons for stopping here was to visit The Little Bighorn Battlefield. It used to be called Custer's Battlefield National Monument until it was changed in 1991. The reason for the change was to honor the Indians as well as the soldiers. I don't have a problem with the name change but others do. From what I've read, Custer was arrogant and over-confident which cost the lives of a couple hundred of his men. I won't go into a lot of his history because it is long and storied. It is worth reading about but be sure to read both sides. 

A brief summary of my thoughts about the Indians is that in cultural clashes, the strong will always push the weak aside, it is just a matter of how they do it. This has happened throughout the ages with the Romans, the Mongols, the Greeks, the Persians, and every other strong culture on the move. In the American case, it was the whites against the Indians. Prior to that though, strong Indian tribes pushed weaker Indian tribes around. For example, the Seminoles were pushed from Georgia to deep inside Florida and the Comanches were pushed out of the plains and into the New Mexico/Texas area where they in turn pushed the Apaches. It appears to be human nature. The outcome is usually not good, and it would have been nice had the whites treated the Indians better while still acquiring their land. On the same hand, the Indians fought a war they had no chance to win. There was one tribe and chief whose story was legendary. I'll will tell that story when I get to another battlefield. 

The Sioux and Cheyenne won this battle but eventually lost the war.

All of the soldiers are buried in
a mass grave under the monument.
All except Custer, who was dug up
and reburied at West Point. Even
the horses which were shot and
used as breastwork are buried here.

The Markers represent the location
where a soldier died. The one in the middle with the black is where Custer fell. 

They all didn't die around Custer. As
you drive or walk around the park, you
will see white markers. It makes you
wonder about these two markers.
Were they friends in life and died

More markers.

Looking up the hill to where the last stand happened.

Everywhere you look are markers

Typical terrain in the area around the battlefield

It is also home to a National Cemetery. Military personnel are buried here who served during the Indian Wars all the way up to Vietnam. I didn't see anything more recent. In the background, just to the left of the teepee is the monument where the 7th cavalry are buried. 

Another view of the National Cemetery.
Tomorrow is moving day. I'll be heading to a small town called White Sulfur Springs, Montana. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.   


  1. I took my son out there a few years back and we visited many of the Indian battlefields, quite a few off the beaten path. I was interest in being on the land where that massive Indian encampment (I believe the largest ever) of Sioux stood those days...139 years ago in a couple of weeks. I'm probably posting this too late but if you have any time and interest you should go back out to I90, go south briefly and then turn around at the Custer Battlefield Museum. You can go in there and they can lead you to the location a little further north where the encampment stood. I swear when I was there, and at the Rosebud Battlefield (on private land), site of the Fetterman Massacre, Wagon Box Fight, and that first battle over the darn cow (Grattan Massacre) that started it all....it was like a religious experience for me. I could feel their spirits. Even down on the Platte in Fort Laramie where they signed those treaties of lies. That trip culminated a desire that began when I was four years old and received my Indian doll and moccasins that I still have over 50 years later.

    1. Hello bh, thanks for the comment. I too have studied a lot of the Indian tribes and battles. Mostly just out of curiosity. I intended to say more about the Bighorn Battle but it would have taken many, many pages to list everything that led up to the battle. Bad things on both sides. My favorite place is yet to come,,,,which will be the Bear's Paw Battlefield. I don't know if I will write up a little or a lot.

  2. Hey Darrell, I recently found your site and you remind me of a really cool tell-it-like-it is history teacher I had at a community college many years ago. I recently featured you on http://www.journeylinks.blogspot.com.

    1. Thanks for the comment RiverCat. I'm glad you enjoy the blog.

  3. My dad was born in White Sulphur Springs and we spent a lot of two week vacations there in the summers when I was in school. For a while, I thought it might dry up and blow away, there wasn't much going on, but we were there a couple of years ago, and it was going strong. Still not too many paved streets, but more than in the 50's. If you have time, be sure to take in a tour of the Castle. It is one of the tourist attractions there. The other thing, if you like steaks, have a rib eye at the Stockman's. Haven't had one as good since we were there last. My dad left in 1938 to come to California to work in the Gold Mines in Alleghaney, up above Grass Valley. He had relatives working there, and soon got a job in the mines, but it wasn't for him, he only lasted a few months before he was on to better things. There wasn't much of a depression in Alleghaney as the Govt bought all the gold they could produce at $16 an ounce.

    1. Hello KCD, Thanks for the comment. Today was the second day here and I played golf today. I'm thinking about visiting the castle tomorrow and maybe get the steak. The campground is very nice and I'll be here another two days. Cya