Late arrival in Buffalo, cabin rental 20 minutes west of Dayton.  Buffalo NY, Dayton Ohio?  Heck no.  I’m talking Wyoming.  In town for Saturday’s ultra, Bighorn.  One mile shake-out run along State Hwy 14, road trippin’ after breakfast.

Montana.  2 hours north on I-90.

Forty Mile Colony.  Lodge Grass.  Crow Agency.  Today’s destination: Little Bighorn Battlefield on the Crow Reservation.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn (commonly referred to as Custer’s Last Stand) was an armed engagement between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army. The battle, which occurred June 25–26, 1876, along the Little Bighorn River in eastern Montana Territory, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876.

 

The fight was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho, who were led by several major war leaders including Crazy Horse and Chief Gall and had been inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull (Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake). The U.S. 7th Cavalry, including the Custer Battalion, a force of 700 men led by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, suffered a major defeat. Five of the 7th Cavalry’s twelve companies were annihilated; Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. The total U.S. casualty count included 268 dead and 55 severely wounded (six died later from their injuries), including four Crow Indian scouts and two Pawnee Indian scouts.

Purchased a guided tour at the Visitors Center, operated by Apsaalooke Tours (affiliated with the Crow Nation Office of Tourism).  Bus tour was led by an enthusiastic Apsaalooke [Crow].  Details of the battle & war strategy were painstakingly reviewed.  Additionally our guide shared his language, teaching [us] multiple native words: hello, goodbye, bird, coyote, mustang, mountain.

While I struggled with his accent & the story, the landscape around me was breathtaking.  LOVED being here.  Life is about seizing opportunity.  I could have laid low the day before Bighorn…but a short 2 hours away, engaged/partook/learned ‘bout Custer’s Last Stand, a significant piece of U.S. history – a story retold by descendants of the native people who won that battle.

Inspired, I needed to know – so, how did it all end?

After Custer’s defeat, Sitting Bull, along with his people, fled north to Canada.  In 1881, he returned to the United States to surrender.  Sitting Bull was killed by Indian police on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota on December 15, 1890.

Sad end to the Lakota spiritual leader – resisted westward expansion, in an effort to preserve the Lakota way of life.

 

 

Little Bighorn Battlefield

 

 

 

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