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The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also called Custer's Last Stand was fought on June 25, 1876, near the Little Bighorn River in the Montana Territory. Tensions in the area had been on the rise since the discovery of gold in South Dakota’s Black Hills territory. The U.S. Army ignored previous treaty agreements and invaded the region. This led many Sioux and Cheyenne tribesmen to defiantly leave their reservations. When a number of tribes missed a federal deadline to move back to reservations, the U.S. Army was dispatched to confront them.
Federal troops led by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer confronted Lakota, Sioux and Cheyenne warriors. Custer was unaware of the number of Indians fighting under the command of Sitting Bull at Little Bighorn due to being misinformed by scouts. The scouts had never seen a gathering this large and underestimated the sheer number of people and warriors they could muster. As a result, Custer's forces were badly outnumbered and could not withstand the resistance they faced.
This marked the most decisive Native American victory and the worst U.S. Army defeat in the long Plains Indian War. Although there was much rejoicing from Native Americans following the victory, it was short lived. News of the battle, skewed in the Army's favor, outraged many Americans and solidified in their minds how Indians were wild and bloodthirsty and needed to be controlled. The U.S. government responded to the public's outrage by increasing its efforts to subdue the tribes. Within five years, almost all Native American tribes of the region would be confined to reservations. A sad event on both sides, but one we remember for its importance. There are many items which highlight and can help educate from this time and we're glad to bring some of those to you.