The stop to visit the Little Bighorn Battle site was an impromptu decision.
But it proved to leave a lasting impression.
First, I didn't realize it was a National Cemetery.
Most of these people died in the "Indian Wars", including General Custer (upper left),
but there are a few from WWI, WWII, and Korea.
All around there are billboards for "Custer's Battlefield", "Fort Custer" and "Custer's Last Stand" and I found out that Little Bighorn Battlefield had only recently, in 1991 been renamed from in an effort to include both sides of the story.
Yes, this was the site of General Custer's Last Stand against the Native Americans.
The plaque reads:
A Clash of Cultures
"Sitting Bull - You are fools to make yourselves slaves to a piece of fat bacon, some hard tack , and a little sugar and coffee"
He was the spiritual leader of the Lakota, shunned the reservation way of life
in favor of their traditional nomadic hunting ways.
"President Ulysses S. Grant - to Christianize and civilize the Indian
and to train him in the arts of peace"
He issued an ultimatum that all Indian who were not on the reservations by January 31st, 1876 would be brought by force.
This tomb on Last Stand Hill, placed in 1881, marks the burial spot of Gen. Custer and his 7th Calvary Regiment, although his remains were later moved to West Pointe Cemetery.
They were outnumbered by about 2,000 of Lakota-Northern Cheyenne & Arapaho Indians.
The markers in the fenced area show where each man, including Custer, fell.
And, there are markers all over the hillside, 249 total, a haunting reminder of where each of the soldiers fell,
making this the most unique battlefield in the U.S.
Only recently have a handful of red granite markers been placed on the field.
"A Cheyenne Warrior fell here on June 25, 1876
while defending the Cheyenne way of life".
I learned that most Native Americans were respecting the Peace Treaty of 1868 and staying in their designated area. But in 1874 gold was discovered in the Black Hills and their land was being overrun, causing them to leave and resume raids on the new settlements & travelers infringing on their domain.
Thus, military force began.
As you know, the Indians eventually lost the battle for their way of life.
If you want to learn more about our ancestry now you can travel to a reservation or a museum.
So, I gotta wonder:
Was the West won...or was it really lost?
The Museum of the Rockies at MSU
Curator of Paleontology - World Renowned Jack Horner
He has named discovered & named several dinosaurs and was a technical advisor for the Jurassic Park movies.
The kids standing in front of "Big Mike" one of the most complete T. Rex fossils ever found.
I gotta admit, although we came here for the dinosaurs (all found in Montana, btw) the exhibit lacked the pizazz needed to keep the kids interested. Ben & Brinley mostly played with the dinosaur toys & dinosaurs puzzles while Ben enjoyed the planetarium show.
I thought we had completely wasted our money until I spotted this:
Tinsley house, 1889
Living History Museum
Built in Gallatin Valley and relocated here on 10 acres. It is a real, working, historic gem.
Upstairs in the bedroom (once the boys' room) Ben learned how to weave.
And he was having so much fun, he was reluctant to let Brinley try
but finally decided to let her have a turn.
The ladies told him how men used to do most the weaving and were thought to be the best. I overheard him telling a friend about it the other day!
I almost couldn't get them out of here!
Some cotton drying out back.
The ladies had just spun it and dyed it with "ink" from the flowers out front!
In fact, there was food in the "ice box" and the oven was still warm from the food they grew, then prepared earlier that day...the old fashioned way.
Ben discovered the working water pump.
And so did Brin..
but there was 1 rule: don't waste the water!
So they went to work, watering the gardens.
They went back several times to fill up & water.
Bryce and I decided they might have actually made it back in the old days.