Little Bighorn Ride 2008

little-bighorn-ride 2008We´re driving to montana at the 24th of june to meet with our lakota friends at the little bighorn and to participate on the memorial ride the next day. The journey leads us along US highway 212 through the wonderful powder river land in north-eastern Wyoming and Montana.

At the end of the nineteenth century these were the huntinggrounds of the last free lakota and shyela people, that defied the US cavallery and held on to their traditional way of life. The 400 miles go by like nothing thanx to the beautiful scenery and only little traffic. We spend the first night at a camp near lame deer not far from the battlefield. The local cheyenne feast us with bbq and fried bread - the old alliances are unbroken even after 130 years. The "beautyful people" are actually very gerenous and hospitable.

We´re riding the last few miles to the battlefield the next day. Tyler White Hawk borrows me one of his horses "Bulls Eye" a real mustang. We form into different small groups. Than we run up the hill close to "Custers Last Stand". Wendell Yellow Bull got a tricky job. He stands at the hilltop with an eagle staff in his hands, while the riders are approachning, trying to make coups using their coup sticks - whatch your head and keep it down Wendell.

But hotter battles have been fought on this spot. At the 25th of june 1876 Crazy Horse together with lakota warriors and cheyenne and arapaho allies fought General G. A. Custer, killing him and his complete troops after the 7th Cavallery tried to massacre a large indian camp on the western side of the little bighorn river.

My wife and daughter and other bystanders whatch the whole spectacle from a secure distance and some of them get coup sticks from the riders as a matter of showing respect and honour. Some elders and spiritual leaders do prayers and speeches later on - amongst them Ron His Horse Is Thunder from the standing rock reservation. The official war memorial for the US soldiers killed in action was renamed from "Custers Last Stand" to "Indian War Memorial" a couple of years ago. At least an amandment into the right direction if you consider that the megalomaniac mass murder Custer was still a nationwide idol for many white americans even in the latest past.

Most lakotas from pine ridge, rosebud und standing rock are heading home, most of them had been on the road for many days at summer temperatures around 90°. We stay for a while and cruise around the crow and northern cheyenne reservation. The landscape and scenery of the powder and tongue river area is still wild and wonderful today and only scarcely populated. No wonder that the lakota and shyela people fought so hard for their beloved country.

We get into a bad thunder- and hailstorm and are forced to spend the nigh tin Lame Deer. The next day we visit devils tower in Wyoming and Bear Butte in south dakota. Both of them but especially the last-mentioned are very important spiritual places for natives from all over north america. This huge rock has got an incredibly powerful aura and dignity. We run into a funny gathering of old and new hippies, visionseekers and new-age-apostles and spend the night in their camp - more or less enforcedly. The 21st century neo-hippie drives a gas-guzzling SUV instead of a customised VW-van of course including a "Free Tibet!" sticker to proof political correctness ...

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