In 1876, As the United States was celebrating its 100th year birthday, June 25, 1876 would be remembered by millions as one of the United States greatest military blunders that ended in the destruction of General George Armstrong Custer and the Seventh Cavalry by the opposing American Indian Tribes; for the Cheyenne and Sioux, it played a major victory in defending their way of life, a way of life before the white man came to these shores.
In the midst of the Campaign of the hostile , both the Arikara and Crow warriors were enlisted as scouts for the 7th Cavalry, as the Sioux and Cheyenne were long time enemies. For many of the older Arikara warriors, this would be the last time to face death as a warrior against an enemy (Sioux & Cheyenne) that they could see, rather than to leave the world in poverty and controlled by the white man’s laws. ”In 1872, Howling Bear, an Arikara and Chief of the scouts at Fort Lincoln, rode to Fort Berthold for recruits. He went to the lodge of Son-of–the-Star and told him what he wanted.” The three scouts pictured in this piece, were three of 11 Arikara scouts that were killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn; Bobtail Bull, Bloody Knife and Little Brave.
June 22, 1876- The Arikara scouts rode upon the two buffalo skulls; one was a large Buffalo Bull Skull facing a smaller female buffalo skull and a limb placed in the ground facing the heavens. The Arikara scouts interpreted the sign to mean that when the Lakota/Cheyenne enemies would be attacked by the blue coats, they would fight like buffalo bulls and the blue coat soldiers would run like women. 1876 JUNE 4-7- A Sundance ceremony is held at Deer medicine rocks. Sitting Bull offered 50 chunks of flesh from each arm to the Creator and receives a vision of soldiers falling from the heavens into his camp. A great victory over the bluecoats is prophesized. Saturday, June 24th- A Dying Dancing Ceremony is held in the Indian encampment. At that time approximately 20 young Lakota and Cheyenne teenagers take a suicide vow with the anticipated General George Armstrong Custer and his troops of blue coats.
June 25, 1876- In Conclusion, General George Armstrong Custer and his 210 blue coats were surrounded and wiped out. After the battle, Sioux and Cheyenne warriors took scalps from the fallen soldiers. One Cheyenne warrior found Custer and was going to take his scalp, but the women got in the way and asked that he wouldn’t be scalped- instead, the warrior cut off one of his fingers. In a previous agreement, Custer made peace with the Cheyenne and smoked the sacred pipe and promised to never make war on the Cheyenne. Instead, he broke that promise and didn’t listen to what would result. Upon his death the Cheyenne women gathered around Custer’s body and began to pierce his ear drums with sewing Awls, so that he would listen better in the next life.