Native Sun News: Lakota and Cheyenne people join forces again

From left: Jenny Parker, Northern Cheyenne, Mel Lone Hill, Oglala, and Chubbs Thunderhawk, organizers and supporters of Lakota Memorial riders. Photo by Clara Caufield

Lakota and Cheyenne join forces on ‘Last Stand Hill’
By Clara Caufield
Native Sun News Correspondent

LITTLE BIG HORN BATTLEFIELD, Mont. –– On June 25, 2016, the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne once again celebrated their victory over General George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry, which occurred 140 years ago (1876).

Horses are not otherwise allowed on the Battlefield, but the National Park Service (NPS) makes a decided exception during the anniversary when riders from Northern Cheyenne and many of the Lakota Nations are the featured attraction, riders from both nations making long memorial rides to the Battlefield where they mount a colorful charge on “Last Stand Hill” where Custer met his end. The Tribes also hold pipe and honoring ceremonies, pay homage to those valiant warriors who perished at the Battle. Hundreds of native people also attend the annual ceremony, where the Lakota and Cheyenne take center stage. This years’ crowd also included thousands of tourists.

That was not always so. Clifford Spotted Eagle, Northern Cheyenne elder told the audience that when he was a small child, his grandmother would cover his eyes with her hands when they passed by the Battlefield. She admonishing him “not to look” because it was a place of death, sacrifice and sorrow.

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado and Northern Cheyenne told of the long-term effort (since 1976) to actively involve tribes in the Battlefield, beginning with the name change which over time has led to improved tribal relations with the NPS.

“It does my heart good to see so many riders, runners and tribal speakers here today,” he said during an afternoon speech. “This reminds us where we come from and reminds America that we are still here. We are still a warrior society.”

The anniversary events began with a sunrise pipe ceremony, conducted by both Tribes, though in different locations. Mark Roundstone who ran the Northern Cheyenne ceremony remarked “We honor our ancestors who were here and pray that something like the Battle will never happen again. In the tradition of Austin Two Moons who started the tradition, we pray for world peace and unity.”

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Lakota and Cheyenne join forces on ‘Last Stand Hill’

(Contact Clara Caufield at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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