WEEK 6 RUN-WALK-BIKE ACROSS AMERICA 2019 STARTS TOMORROW
Segment 13: Lovell WY to Sheridan WY
Segment 14: Sheridan WY to Gillette WY
After last week’s huge mileage commitment (3.2-32 miles depending on scale) and because of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, this week there are only 2 segments to cover (2.1-21 miles). Both segments virtually take runners, walkers, and bikers near parts of the National Park System, through the Bighorn National Forest and near the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area to Sheridan WY, and the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area “was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, following the construction of the Yellowtail Dam” (named after a famous Crow tribe chairman, Robert Yellowtail). The dam “harnessed the waters of the Bighorn River and turned this variable stream” into Bighorn Lake. The magnificent 71-mile lake extends through Wyoming and Montana, “55 miles of which are held within spectacular Bighorn Canyon”.
About 70 miles to the north of Sheridan WY, in southeastern Montana, is the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, near the river of the same name. The battlefield monument memorializes the site of the famous event, sometimes referred to as “Custer’s Last Stand”, which took place on June 25-26, 1876.
A small force led by U.S Army Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer attacked but was subsequently overcome by a much larger force of several to many thousands of Sioux, Arapahoe, and Northern Cheyenne who had not been expecting this action. The warriors were led by Chief Crazy Horse and inspired by Chief Sitting Bull. None of Custer’s group lived to tell the story of the day’s happening. The warriors also mounted a counter-attack about 4 miles away on the encamped U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment, which consisted of a few hundred military; there were soldier survivors of this secondary battle.
The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument was originally designated the “Custer Battlefield”, but in December 1991 President George H.W. Bush renamed it to be representative of all those who were in the battle, including Native Americans and the 7th Cavalry.
The information presented in this post was gleaned from several sources, listed below. The Smithsonian Magazine article describes the course of events that day from the perspective of Native Americans. It indicates that the 1874 discovery of gold by Custer and his men in the Black Hills area of what was to become South Dakota, then recognized as belonging to the Sioux nation, prompted the dispatch of federal troops to “force the Sioux into reservations and pacify the Great Plains”.
Never having been through this area where the Great Sioux Wars were fought, the narrative given here comes only from my reading. Since these lands were set aside to remember a deadly and turbulent time in American history for Native Americans, settlers, and military, I hope it is correct and conveys respect for all groups. The beauty of the land is evident in pictures*. Defending the right to live here was considered a worth, if terrible, struggle for those who made it their home.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*There are images on the ACROSS AMERICA IN PHOTOS page and in the sources below (links).
NOTE: Recently I read the non-fiction book “Prairie Fires” by Caroline Fraser. It details the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and in doing so describes her family’s experiences in Minnesota and the Dakota territory. Interactions between Native American tribes and pioneers after the Civil War in the region form the backdrop of this biography. After reading it I am eager to be on my way through this area in coming weeks as the journey ACROSS AMERICA extends east.
By Jeremykemp at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Little_Bighorn_cemetery_overview.jpg
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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