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Thu Jun 25, 2015, 10:12 AM

The Little Bighorn

Today marks the anniversary of the beginning of a US military campaign, know as The Battle of the Little Bighorn. The violent conflict took place on June 25-26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in Montana Territory.

Those two days in American history are still important today. They provide lessons in several important areas: the US’s relationship with, and treatment of, Native American nations; the horrors of war; the identifying of one person as “public enemy #1,“ and the creation of a legend to scare the public; and who are, or should be, actually respected as “heroes” in our culture’s history.

There are a number of outstanding books on this tragic event. The two that I most recommend are: “A Terrible Glory,” by James Donovan (Back Bay Books; 2008); and “Crazy Horse and Custer,” by Stephen Ambrose (Meridian; 1975). There are a dozen others that are of high quality, but these two are, in my opinion, the most essential for understanding what happened, and why.

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Reply The Little Bighorn (Original post)
H2O Man Jun 2015 OP
Zorra Jun 2015 #1
mmonk Jun 2015 #2
JonLP24 Jun 2015 #3

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jun 25, 2015, 12:34 PM

1. I've often wondered how different cultures indigenous to the "Americas"

would have evolved if imperialistic Euro-christians had not disrupted this cultural evolution. Without the existence altering Judeo-Christian tradition prevalent in all European based cultures of the time diverting the flow of adaption to more natural conditions, a whole different type of widespread ethos would most likely be prevalent among the people of the "Americas" today. The profoundly different ways that people of these two very distinct cultures experienced the universe was, and in many cases to some extent is, like existing in almost completely different realities.

The long term isolation of these cultures from one another may have even evolved some sensory abilities unique to the people of the different cultures, respectively. Different ways of perceiving the universe.
It is my understanding that Custer made a huge tactical error in attempting to terrorize and prey on the women and children while the men of the camps were engaged on another front. Custer's apparent strategy was to hold the women and children hostage, making it more difficult for the men defending their homes, families, and horses to repel the predator attack.

The defenders seemingly had already figured out it was a very real possibility that Custer would use this strategy, and when they became aware that the predators were going after the women and children, many of the men turned back and to protect their wives and children, and had to slaughter the predators to prevent their families from being further terrorized.

Ironic that Custer and several members of his family were killed at the Little Big Horn, while attempting to savagely terrorize and prey on innocent, defenseless women and children.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 25, 2015, 12:38 PM

2. +1

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Jun 25, 2015, 01:10 PM

3. Thanks for alerting me to this event

Bookmarked thread for book recommendations.

While I'm not familiar with this it reminded me of a very excellent book 38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow, and the Beginning of the Frontier's End.

I read it about 2011-2012 so can't remember a whole lot but a few things was broken promises led to the rebellion which was occurring during the civil war but not sure who viewed it as The Dakota were only doing it to screw with the union's effort in the civil war. Little Crow was a very interesting person, a lot of memorable quotes and Sarah Wakefield was taken captive provides a lot of detail and a lot of background provided on her. She wrote "Six Weeks in the Sioux Tepees" -- she often mentioned this man Chaska who often protected her because she was taken captive. She defended The Dakota and she defended Chaska who was later mistakenly hung for can't remember how the mix-up occurred but he was on the pardon list .. anyway, I found this which explains it.

"His Thunder" Wakinyatawa Chaska

Of the 400 Dakota men taken into custody, 303 were tried and convicted in a kangaroo court by a military commission. President Abraham Lincoln reviewed the cases and pardoned 265 of the 303 condemned men. Chaska's name was on the presidential pardon list. However, on Dec. 26, 1862, he was hanged along with 37 other Dakota men who had been sentenced to death.


Sarah Wakefield had testified on behalf of Chaska while he was in custody, and gave an account of his innocence. She was horrified when she read a newspaper account two days after the execution and found his name among those who were executed. He had been hanged "by mistake" in place of Chaskadon.

She demanded an explanation from Rev. Stephen Riggs, who had assisted in transferring the prisoners to the gallows. He had earlier pressured Wakefield to testify that she had been raped during her captivity, but she would not lie. After the execution, Riggs sent a letter to her claiming that Chaska's hanging was a case of mistaken identity; he and the other officials that morning had simply "forgotten" that another Indian in custody and sentenced to be executed had a similar name and confused Chaska with the other condemned man.


Not sure if inappropriate as I have no intention to distract from The Battle of Little Bighorn which I'm interested to learn more on, I was reminded of the Little Crow book which was among the best non-fiction books I've read -- very honest, details very immoral & unjustified actions up to & including the largest government sanctioned mass execution in US history. Also your mention on "heroes".

This is what I could find that was memorable on Little Crow.

We have waited a long time. The money is ours, but we cannot get it. We have no food, but here are these stores, filled with food. We ask that you, the agent, make some arrangement so we can get food from the stores, or else we may take our own way to keep ourselves from starving. When men are hungry they help themselves.
Taiyateduta is not a coward! And he is not a fool! Braves, you are like children; you know not what you are doing. You are like dogs in the Hot Moon when they run mad and snap at their own shadows. We are only little herds of buffaloes left scattered; the great herds that once covered the prairies are no more. See! The white men are like the locusts when they fly so thick that the whole sky is a snowstorm. Count your fingers all day long and white men with guns in their hands will come faster than you can count. Yes, they fight among themselves, away off...but if you strike at them they will all turn on you and devour you and your women and little children just as the locusts in their time fall on the trees and devour all the leaves in one day. You are fools. You cannot see the face of your chief; your eyes are full of smoke. You cannot hear his voice; your ears are full of rearing waters. Braves, you are little children - you are fools. You will die like the rabbits when the hungry wolves hunt them in the Hard Moon. Taoyateduta is not a coward....He will die with you.
....Taoyateduta (Little Crow)

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