The famous Little Bighorn battlefield is more commonly known today as “Custer’s Last Stand” and the site was commemorated in 1879 as and national cemetery.
The Battle of Little Bighorn, which took place in eastern Montana on the 25th and 26th of June 1876, was part of what has been called the Great Sioux War that occurred between 1876 and 1877.
History of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
The Little Bighorn battlefield was first preserved as a National Cemetery in order to protect the graves of the US soldiers who died and were buried there. The site, which is administered by the National Park Services, was renamed “Custer National Cemetery” in 1886 and the name was changed in 1946 to “Custer Battlefield National Monument”. In 1991, then-President George Bush senior signed a law to rename the Little Bighorn battlefield once more, calling it the “Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.”
The Little Bighorn monument is open for self-guided tours or can also be explored with the assistance of rangers. The area has reduced mobility access facilities as well, for the convenience of guests.
The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is comprised of a visitor center and a museum that exhibits artifacts from the 1876 battle. In all, 263 men from the US cavalry lost their lives at Little Bighorn.
Early Monument Names
Little Big Horn battlefield was administered at first by the War Department to whom it was entrusted in 1879. Two years later, the deaths of the Seventh Cavalrymen were honored with a memorial on the Last Stand Hill. In 1940 the administration changed hands to the National Park Services.
Incidentally, the interpretations of the Little Bighorn battle were always one-sided and acknowledged only the US cavalrymen who lost their lives at Little Bighorn battlefield. Ironically, the victors did not get to write the history this time and the brave struggle of the Native American warriors was ignored completely and not recognized formally until the twenty-first century.
Today there is also an Indian Memorial at the site of the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. The “Peace Through Unity” Indian Memorial was erected near the Little Bighorn battlefield. It was built to recognize and honor the native Indians who also took part in this infamous battle of Little Bighorn in order to protect their land and preserve their way of life and culture. The theme of the Indian Memorial is to “encourage peace among people of all races.”
The memorial was welcomed by the Native American community who commented on the erection of the memorial at Little Bighorn battlefield. As an Oglala Lakota Elder stated, “If this monument is to serve its total purpose, it must not only be a tribute to the dead; it must contain a message for the living…power through unity…”
Clash of Cultures at Little Bighorn Battlefield
Two cultures clashed on the Little Bighorn battlefield on that fateful day back in June 1876. The battle was fierce and was the culmination of nearly 400 years of feuding between the Native Americans and the Euro American settlers. While the death toll on the Little Bighorn battlefield was not the highest in the young history of early America, the defeat of the Seventh Cavalry has since been immortalized in all types of media.
The United States was represented by the Seventh Cavalry Regiment commanded by Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer. The political and spiritual leader who represented the Cheyenne, Arapaho and the Sioux was Sitting Bull, who fought the battle with the assistance of chief Crazy Horse and his people.
All-Inclusive Tours by Caravan
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is included as part of Caravan Tour’s fully guided Yellowstone National Park Tour, which also includes visits to see the Mount Rushmore Presidents, Crazy Horse monument, Mammoth hot springs, and the Grand Tetons.
This fully guided, 8-day all-inclusive tour is affordably priced. Visit Caravan’s Yellowstone National Park Tour Reviews page to read what others have said about this all-inclusive tour.
To book this tour, call Caravan toll-free at 1-800-CARAVAN (227-2826).