In Montana driving from Pine Ridge Rez in South Dakota to catch a flight in Billings the next afternoon. Late that day I came upon the national historic site of Little Bighorn Battlefield, aka. Custer's Last Stand, aka. The Greasy Grass Creek.
I had no plans to stop here, I saw it on the map though. I figured what the heck, it's not closed and I have plenty of time so I turned off. I went to the graveyard beside the visitor center first and thought, 'this is it?" I then went to the visitor center to learn that I could drive across the beautiful rolling hills to view where these unfortunate, deadly battles happened. I had time to go to a couple pull-overs before the park closed so I took off in my rental.
I parked and walked over to the overview while diverting my eyes towards the ground. When I looked out onto the hills at the over-look, I saw calvary men and native people fighting. I immediately shook my head back and forth in disbelief, similar to a dog shaking when wet. Once I shook my head, I did not see anything so I carried on with my investigation of marked graves and the natural environment. I forgot about the battle experience before walking back to my rental. Things similar to this have happened to me before and I just count it as another experience.
I drove to the next over-look and once again was looking at the ground as I walked, totally oblivious to much if any thoughts. I looked out upon the hills and saw another battle, a different battle. I could see some men on horses and some on foot fighting with guns and hand held weapons. It slowly dissipated. By now, it is time to leave because they are closing. I found a campsite not too far away, I was going to drive closer to Billings and hang out there until my flight but after this experience there was no way I was going to leave without finding out if this would happen again.
The next morning, I was waiting at the gate before they opened it for the day. I immediately drove to the further over-looks and at each and every one I saw a battle occurring, all different from the previous. So now I am wondering why I would see these things, more on that latter.
I still had a little time to spare so I decided to walk on the little nature trail behind the visitor center to look for wildlfowers and rattlesnakes to photograph. I happen to like to identify wildlife of all kinds but am especially fond of snakes.
I photographed a few wildflowers as I walked along the path and then, I was stopped dead, as if I hit a brick wall. I could not walk further and I felt as if there were dead bodies everywhere. I looked around, still not able to move forward and did not see any marked graves. I said to myself, "you are silly, there are dead bodies here because there are not marked graves." At that point I could continue along the trail and did. When I reached the end of the trail, the kiosk basically said, this is where the deadliest of battles were fought and there are dead bodies everywhere. I thought, "well there you go." At this point I regrettably had to continue my travels to catch my flight.
I was at a Native Sundance in southeast South Dakota a few years after I visited the battlefield and had a chance to speak with an elder. I asked why it is that I have so many experiences at native sites and or reservations. I told him of this experience and another at Canyon de Chelley in Arizona. He said I was meant to be a bridge of sorts between native people and non-natives.