Have you wondered what happened at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, where General George Armstrong Custer and most of his command, the Seventh Cavalry, met their deaths? Richard G. Hardorff has collected in his third volume in this set firsthand accounts of what was a disaster for Custer but a great victory for the American Indians. As the title indicates, these are accounts gathered from American Indians who were at the battle and saw what happened.
Richard G. Hardorff has written several books on the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Custer, and the Plains Indians. The two previous titles which are of eyewitness accounts of this battle collected by Hardorff are Lakota Recollections (1997) and Cheyenne Memories (1998). Indian Views is a collection of 29 Sioux or Lakota and nine Cheyenne accounts of the battle. One of the Lakota is Chief Crazy Horse, who led the Ogala. Hardorff was able to collect and edit these accounts from various archives and libraries. He also provides a bibliography to learn more about this battle and those connected with it.
Indian Views and its companions are an important addition to the history of this famous battle because they give eyewitness accounts of the victorious side of the battle in a lost war. Hardorff says that these accounts had been neglected and need to be preserved to give both sides of the story. None of those with Custer’s part of the Seventh Cavalry survived to give their side of the battle. Hardorff does warn the reader to be careful about the accounts’ exaggerations and possible inaccuracies due to translation and to the way that the individual Indians expressed themselves according to their culture.
From these accounts, the reader can tell that Custer was greatly outnumbered. There were so many Indians that not all of them could get into the fight, and several were killed or wounded by their own men. The accounts also say that Major Reno could have saved Custer if he had united with him. Reno also could have been wiped out, too, were it not for General Terry’s close proximity and arrival.
Indian Views is recommended to those interested in the Battle of the Little Big Horn and General Custer. It will also be of interest to those interested in Native Americans history and experience.