Little Bighorn Battlefield to rededicate Indian memorial

2014-06-21T09:45:00Z 2014-06-22T00:27:22Z Little Bighorn Battlefield to rededicate Indian memorialBy CLAIR JOHNSON cjohnson@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument will commemorate the 138th anniversary of the famous battle, with special emphasis on the rededication of the Indian Memorial, beginning on Tuesday.

Events, guest speakers and book signings are planned at the monument, located south of Crow Agency at the junction of Interstate 90 and Highway 212, from June 24 to June 29.

The Indian Memorial rededication will be on June 25, the day 138 years ago when Lt. Col. George A. Custer and the U.S. Army’s Seventh Calvary battled with the Sioux and Cheyenne in one of the last armed conflicts of the Indian Wars.

The park will open at 5 a.m. on Wednesday and feature a sunrise ceremony from 5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. at the Indian Memorial. At 10 a.m., the Bighorn Riders will have a “Morning Charge” followed by Lakota ceremonies and speakers at the Indian Memorial.

Rededication ceremonies will begin at 1 p.m., with speakers to include tribal delegates, Montana state representatives and former park superintendents.

At 2 p.m., Northern Cheyenne “Morning Star Riders” will hold an annual horse ride, during which visitors can expect short traffic delays. There will be a Little Bighorn Memorial Spiritual Run, with Cheyenne runners, to the memorial, followed by a Northern Cheyenne memorial presentation at the amphitheater at 3 p.m.

Groundbreaking for the Indian Memorial was in 1999 and the memorial was first dedicated on June 25, 2003. The last phase of constructing the memorial, which ran from 2003-2013, was to engrave large granite walls in the interior of the circular memorial.

The panels, each weighing about 3,000 pounds, are engraved with text and graphics chosen by tribes associated with the battle. There are 17 tribes located through the northern plains and Oklahoma that are associated with the battle.

Chevo Studios, of Denver, completed the engravings in October.

The theme of the Indian Memorial, which honors Indian participants who fought and died in the battle, is “Peace Through Unity.”

Anniversary events are subject to change and schedules will be provides at the park entrance. Unless noted, the park’s hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with entrance free on Wednesday. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/libi.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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