Everybody is the Good One! Living History and Monuments at the Little Big Horn Battlefield Site

Two re-enactments are performed by Crow Indians and white re-enactors near and on the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument, as the Custer Battlefield was renamed after President G.W. Bush signed a bill in 1991, which approved the change of the name and the building of an Indian Memorial close to the monument on the mass grave on the Last Stand Hill. Little Big Horn has become a symbol for much more than a small stream near which a mere skirmish by military standards took place in south-eastern Montana more than 130 years ago. The “battle” involved Custer, a man of marginal historical importance, and ironically it was crucial to the defeat of the resistant Sioux and their allies. In the aftermath of the battle, the US Army appropriated both the story and the battlefield, but their interpretation, once conventional, became hopelessly outmoded in the 1980s. Hence, the renaming of the battlefield and the building of the Indian Memorial attempted to convert it from a shrine to manifest destiny to a historical site where different people might construct multifaceted memory.