"Know the Power that is Peace"
On the side of the visitor's center at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Montana.
We've begun our long return trip to Des Moines, and we're continuing our sight-seeing on the way. Our first stop after leaving Helena is the Little Bighorn Battlefield. It's a little confusing where to begin at this National Monument, and so, if you have the time, I'd recommend doing one of the tours led by someone from the Apsaalooke (Crow) nation.
It was hot and sunny when we arrived, so we skipped the hour long tour because we didn't think the kids would handle it too well. We started out from the visitor's center and went up to Last Stand Hill, where the battle ended. From there, we worked backward. So, learn from my mistake! Instead of hoofing it from the Visitor's Center, drive to the other end of the historic site, at the Reno-Benteen Battlefield. We learned that this is where the battle actually started--when Custer and his men spotted the Cheyenne and other Native Americans camped down near the river. A troop was sent to confront them and was quickly overwhelmed. You can follow the plaques and trails back toward Last Stand Hill and read about the various battles, including when Crazy Horse successfully attacked one of the
On Last Stand Hill
Below this memorial is a mass grave, as many of the bodies from the battle were buried here. Custer's body was reinterred at West Point.
militia troops. About halfway through the battlefield is a memorial called the Indian Memorial, dedicated to the Native Americans involved in the battle.
The whole battlefield area seemed extremely well done. Both perspectives of the fight are documented, including first hand accounts from Native Americans who fought and survived. It's a wonderful stop, but it definitely takes more time than we'd planned. I'd recommend dedicating 2-3 hours to this stop and do the tour, the video introduction, and a walk-through of the museum (located in the visitor's center) instead of trying to cram everything into an hour like we did!
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