Friday, June 27, 2008

Battle of Little Bighorn

We left the recreation area with no electricity and headed to Hardin MT to a campsite with all the hookups plus a laundry.Sometimes beating your clothes out clean on a rock is just not an option!
We got there in time for the big weekend of the Reenactment of Custer's Last Stand.
Hardin is right on the edge of the Crow Indian Reservation. Sadly, it is a dying town. The businesses and factories are moving away.Once there were sixteen bars and churches on Main Street.But they have this one week in the year when the tourists from all over the world, according to them, come to play.
We toured the battlefield which is a very eerie place. There are grave markers all over the battlefield to show where the soldiers' bodies were found after the battle.
On Wednesday night the Relay for Life Group had a beef BBQ, which we attended and met some of the locals who had grown up in the town. As one lady said,"Thirty years ago this was a jumpin' town." On Thurs night the wrestling team had a pork BBQ which we attended and met other campers.
On early Friday afternoon in the heat of the day was the first performance of the reenactment. It is about 2 hours long and tells the story of the battle from the Indian point of view. The show was written by an Indian and tells why the Indians felt this too was their last stand to try to protect their nomadic way of life.
When the Indians surrounded the wagon train, I could just feel the terror the settlers felt when looking at the Indians on horseback, yelling and riding their ponies into and out of the train. Observing one lone Indian on horseback studying the long train of settlers, one understood that the Indians were fighting for a way of life.
But hearing the tales of surrounding the soldiers like "swirling water over stones" gave an idea of hectic and savage the battle was.
This was a history lesson for me. It explained how Custer got misinformation, made decisions on this information and died because of this information. Toward the end of the battle the Indian firepower increased due to the guns and ammunition they took from the dead soldiers. The fight became a rout as the Indians pursued and killed fleeing soldiers.It explained how desperate the battle was at the end when Custer and his men killed their horses to use as shields.
It was not one of my favorite stops, but it sure was an educational one. I had always considered Custer an arrogant leader that did not listen to his scouts, which is true, but he also was misinformed...........Plus listening to it told from the Indian point of view was also rather unsettling.............There is probably a sermon in there somewhere.

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