Little Bighorn's victors on the bravest man they fought

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The real futility is that the Fort Laramie treaty of 1868 “gave” the Black Hills, the Paha Sapa, to the Sioux, as if newcomers could give what had always belonged. But then the settlers came and gold was found in the Hills, so the treaty was broken. The Battle of the Little Big Horn was one of the results.

They were just marking the 150th anniversary of that treaty last month. Honor the treaty, I have a button from 1980 that says that. The US Supreme court even ruled in favor of the Sioux around then, though not a return of the Hills but a large amount of money. They won’t take the money.

I was on the plains of South Dakota in July of 1980, sleeping on the ground. It was hot in the day, cold at night. One time it rained really hard, fifteen minutes later the ground was as dry as it had been. That’s when the double rainbow appeared, and a guy from AIM said “that’s nothing, I once saw a triple rainbow”. One night there was lightning, and with nothing to block the view, even over the horizon lightning would light up the sky.

The last day we went into the Hills, and it was like an oasis compared to the plains. I got some sense of the importance of the Hills from that brief visit, and the contrast with the plains. Custer died for a reason, and the treaty should be honored.

There’s book that quotes Sitting Bull, he says he knew my great, great grandmother’s brother. The book specifies, at first glance I figured Sitting Bull meant the other James Ross, but now I’m less sure. Some of it fits, and it’s real easy to forget that the US/Canada border wasn’t always there. If they knew each other, my family intersects with three of the biggest figures to stand up to colonial power, since James Ross was also chief justice in the Red River provisional government, and the distant cousins are on the Colville Reservation in Washington state, where Chief Joseph went after he gave his “I will fight no more forever” speech.


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