Here’s how Susan Olp’s story of the Billings Gazette begins:
The Battle of the Little Bighorn is known around the world.
On Friday afternoon, about 500 people from as far away as England came to the Real Bird Ranch, adjacent to the Little Bighorn Battle Monument, north of Garryowen, to see the battle for themselves. The Real Birds, members of the Crow Tribe, have put on the re-enactment for about 17 years.
Visitors sat in bleachers overlooking the Medicine Trail Coulee, near where Lt. Col. George Custer and the 7th Cavalry met decisive defeat on June 25, 1876. The brown Bighorn River drifted along lazily in the background.http://buffalopost.net/wp-admin/post-new.php
Authenticity is critical to the success of the re-enactment of the battle, said Ken Real Bird. Members of the cavalry wear uniforms and use firearms similar to the ones fired in the battle.
Those who portray the Cheyenne and Sioux warriors are only permitted to wear breechcloths and moccasins. Most paint themselves and their horses with symbols of red, white, yellow and black.
Between 70 and 80 people re-enact the roles of the soldiers, the warriors and tribal members. Friday’s presentatoin of the battle was choreographed by retired Lt. Col. Bobby Jolley, from Fort Lewis, Wash.
Steve Alexander, from Monroe, Mich., portrayed Custer. Frank Knows His Gun, a member of the Ogallala Sioux Tribe, portrayed Crazy Horse.
Want more? There’s a whole photo array, a schedule of events, and of course the rest of this most excellent story. Click here.