States 4 and 5
About 100 miles or so from Billings we had to have another tourist stop at Little Bighorn Battlefield. This Monument memorializes a major battle fought on June 25th, 1876. The Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes fought to preserve their traditional way of life as nomadic buffalo hunters. The US Army was carrying out President Grant’s orders to remove the tribes to the reservation in Dakota Territory. A Clash of Cultures. The tribes defeated Custer and his cavalry, thus winning the battle, but they (obviously) lost the war.
We spent time in the Visitor Center to listen to talk, then drove the 4-5 mile trail along the battlefield itself.
In addition, there is a National Cemetery where veterans of several wars and their spouses are buried.
After the battle, tribe families removed their dead (60-100 estimated) and put them in tipis on hillsides. In 1890 the Army erected 249 headstone markers of fallen soldiers across the battlefield. In 1999 the National Park Service began erecting red granite markers at know Indian warrior casualty sites.
But it was time to drive on, swing through the northeast corner of Wyoming and enter South Dakota. We will spend some time here in Sturgis today before heading on to Custer where our bike tour will begin.