by Jesse Marinoff Reyes ( Jesse Marinoff Reyes Design, Maplewood, N.J.)
June 25, 1876, what the Lakota, the Northern Cheyenne, and the Arapaho call The Battle of the Greasy Grass occurred—AKA The Battle of the Little Bighorn.
Roughly 1800 warriors rode out to meet U.S. cavalry forces and infantry lead by General George Armstrong Custer—who were so badly equipped, trained and even fed, that the fact that strategically they were outnumbered, outflanked, and out maneuvered seemed beside the point. It was as much the arrogance and hubris of their leadership on the field by Custer and Major Marcus Reno (and to a lesser extent Frederick Benteen and James Calhoun) that doomed their men, as much as were the force of arms led by Sitting Bull, Gall, and Crazy Horse.
The U. S. 7th Cavalry, including the Custer battalion, suffered huge losses. Five of the Seventh’s company were annihilated. Custer was killed (as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law). Total U.S. casualties were 258 dead, with 55 wounded.
It was however, the beginning of the end of the “Indian Wars.” The victory was short lived, with consequences that reverberated for years to come—mostly bad for Native American Peoples (with racism and discrimination echoing into the present day). But for one, brief moment of true shock and awe, the warrior tribes of the western plains dealt a nasty, bloody nose to the white supremacy of carnivorous manifest destiny. You can bet it left a mark.
Penguin Lives, 2005
“Illustration”: Amos Bad Heart Bull
“…one of the few, if not the only, contemporary images of Crazy Horse. In (his) pictograph, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse rally their warriors to resist Custer’s attack. Crazy Horse’s body is painted for battle with dots that represent hail.”
Notation regarding the image’s description is from a book published by the National Geographic Society, Trail to Wounded Knee: The Last Stand of the Plains Indians 1860-1890 (National Geographic, 2003). Reproduced from A Photographic History of the Oglala Sioux by Amos Bad Heart Bull, text by Helen H. Blish, by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 1967 by the University of Nebraska Press (renewed 1995).
Design: Jesse Marinoff Reyes
Art Director: Paul Buckley