THE CONTINUING BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN
By Avi Davis
I have never been a big fan of Westerns or caught up in the romance of the Wild West. But a visit to the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Eastern Montana, long venerated in American hagiography as Custer’s Last Stand, does, I admit, stir some emotion. The story of the attack on the villages of the combined Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes by the U.S. Seventh Calvary on June 25, 1876 and the consequent decisive defeat of the U.S military, was a true tragedy for both sides. It bespeaks the appalling toll that misunderstanding and miscalculation can wreak in any struggle over territory. And it gives pause to anyone who believes that right and wrong can be neatly parsed in determining the moral demarcations in that violent conflict.
Strolling to the top of the so called Last Stand Hill, where what remained of Custer’s battalion fought a desperate battle for survival against an overwhelming Indian force,
( killing their horses for breastworks and dispensing with their rifles in favor of more easily reloadable pistols), one can read the names of the 210 U.S. soldiers, citizens and scouts who died that day as well as view the 19th century markers of where the most famous among them - George Custer, his brothers Tom and Boston and his more junior officers, fell. Further down the hillside is the monument to the Indians who perished during the Indian campaign of 1876. That monument, erected only six years ago, offers a perspective on both the battle itself and the toll that the Indian Wars of the late 19th Century took on the culture and lives of the Great Plains Indians.
Yet where Custer and his impetuous actions of the summer of 1876 truly stands in American consciousness today, is almost impossible to determine with any clarity. On the one hand, he is lauded as both a symbol of American derring-do, courage and perseverance and yet on the other as a reckless adventurer, imperialist puppet and genocidal murderer. For the 136 years since his death he has divided historians, politicians and military enthusiasts alike – so much so that Custer National Battlefield was compelled to change its name to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in 1991 for fear that it paid too much homage to the fallen Lieutenant Colonel and thus to the perceived 19th Century campaigns of extermination.
This new tweak on Custer mythology has penetrated into battlefield brochures and latter day re-enactments. Today the Little Bighorn Battlefield has been established as a place where the descendants of both sides can simultaneously claim the mantle of victory and the moral authority of defeat. The guides at the battle site and the announcers at the re-enactment itself all refer to an ineradicable clash of cultures and civilizations that began with the arrival of Europeans on the American continent and most probably continues today:
“The Battle of the Little Bighorn was but the latest encounter in a centuries-long conflict that began with the arrival of the first Europeans in North America. It reached its peak in the decade following the Civil War when settlers resumed their vigorous westward movement. These western emigrants , possessing little or no understanding of the Indian way of life, showed slight regard for the sanctity of the hunting grounds or the terms of former treaties. The Indians’ resistance to those encroachments on their domains only served to intensify hostilities”
Here is baldly stated, what multiculturalists, revisionist historians and Indian rights advocates have been arguing for decades: that the Indian narrative of the struggle over territory in the 19th Century was just as significant, if not more so, than the white man’s version of events – and that such a perspective must become part of America’s historical memory. This is of course argued in much the same way the black community demands that the memory of slavery should underpin relations today with African-Americans.
‘Well, what is wrong with that?’- might be the question that most might ask when presented with such a demand. After all, native Indians are no less American than whites and their history certainly deserves recognition, particularly since they have been here so much longer.
Well recognition is one thing. But when the promotion of a sub-national consciousness is used to promote separatism, hatred and violence toward the majority culture, then it is entirely another.
The militancy of native American Indians has absorbed momentum from the prevailing culture wars of the past three decades and the fragmentation of U.S. national identity. In 1969, Vine Deloria Jr., a Stand Rock Sioux Indian published Custer Died for Your Sins: An American Indian Manifesto – a political best seller. In that book Deloria described Custer as a blood sacrifice and a necessary sacrifice for the crimes of U.S. expansionism. Deloria’s book accelerated the American Indian Movement (AIM) and for the 1976 centennial the Indian activist Russell Means led a band of 200 Sioux Indians to the battle site carrying an upside down American flag, demanding and receiving unscheduled time on the speakers’ platform. He then prevented a descendant of Custer, Lieut. Col. George A. Custer III from being either officially recognized or presenting remarks.
Means upped the ante even further for the 112th anniversary in 1988 when he led a group that brought its own historical plaque of welded steel, planted it in the sod on Last Stand Hill and poured in concrete. The plaque read:
“In honor of our Indian Patriots who fought and defeated U.S. Calvary (sic.). In order to save our women and children from mass murder. In doing so, preserving our rights to our Homeland, Treaties and Sovereignty”
AIM has since forcefully promoted a reparations agenda and has argued that tribal law, rather than American law, should be applied on native American reservations and communities. That particular demand is eerily reminiscent of the demands of British Muslims for their own sharia courts to adjudicate family disputes.
Means and others like him have vigorously promoted the concept of Indians as innocents who led peaceful lives on the plains before they were victimized and then militarized by the advent of white incursion. But this is a total fabrication. The Plains Indians were already militarized, having spent centuries in mortal combat with one another, a fact attested to by the revelation that most of Custer’s scouts were Crow Indians, who bore their neighbors such an abiding hatred they were willing to provide vital details on the Sioux encampment. Not mentioned by Means or many other Indian archivists, is the brutal way in which white settlers were massacred at every stage of American westward expansion. In fact, in the recorded depredations of Indians against whites families, there are almost no instances where the women of the settlements, when attacked, were not raped and then mutilated by Indian war parties.
In addition, we should remember the barbarism of the Indian warriors and their cohorts at the Little Bighorn itself. How many people, with even a causal interest in the West, know that in the aftermath of Battle of the Little Bighorn, the bodies of Custer and his men were stripped naked by their Indian victors, that many were either decapitated or eviscerated, their hands, feet and private parts dismembered and that these depredations were carried out, not by the warriors who did the killing, but mainly by the women and children of the encampment, after the warriors had left the field.. U.S Calvary divisions arriving on the scene on June 27th two days later, could barely make out the faces of many of their comrades, so flattened had they been by tomahawks and clubs.
The charge of genocide against 19th Century U.S. Administrations has often been leveled and indeed, an entire historiography has arisen in our universities which relies on the “facts” of a concerted U.S. campaign to exterminate the American Indian. And it is on this platform of guilt that American multiculturalists raise the banner of national rights for Indians. So described as a “holocaust”, in line with other “holocausts” of the Aztec peoples of Mexico and the Inca of Peru, it is all an attempt to give Indians the moral authority to make demands of the majority white population that they should not, in good conscience, refuse.
The effort to contemporize the “Manifest Destiny” policies of mid-19th Century American governments as genocidal campaigns has been a cynical exercise in capitalizing on the collapse of identity in this country, wherein those of Caucasian extraction are made to feel the burden of guilt for any number of depredations against minorities - complaints which can only be redressed by an acknowledgement that “white” culture is somehow morally and ethically bankrupt and inherently inferior to other cultures.
Yet, lets understand something. The roll of western civilization over the American continent and the attempts of successive American administrations to consolidate the American hinterland was a historical process that could not, ultimately, be resisted. In that process, U.S. governments, military leaders and citizens indisputably committed certain acts of betrayal, wanton murder and destruction. But these injustices, as egregious in some instances they might have been , did not amount to exterminationist policies; nor do they warrant an unending apology from the descendants, to the point where whites are forced to acknowledge a superior Indian claim to moral authority.
These vulnerabilities that other “victimized” people, from the Palestinians to the many Muslims in European countries, have chosen to manipulate today. Multiculturalists would have you believe that such acknowledgements will heal old wounds. But if that is what is meant by “ burying the hatchet,” we would be better off recognizing that militant Indians are glad Custer died and if given the opportunity, would gleefully kill him all over again.
Want to comment on this article? See Avi Davis’ blog
Avi Davis is the president of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles. He can be contacted at email@example.com
associate Fellow Column
Is Hollywood Getting It Right on Islam and Stoning?
by Robert Spencer (more by this author)
A powerful new film, The Stoning of Soraya M., is calling public attention to the Islamic practice of stoning adulterers in a way that only Hollywood can; while at least eight women await death by stoning in Iran today, none of their cases have drawn any significant protests from human rights organizations, and Western governments have remained largely indifferent. With a genocidally inclined nuclear Iran looming on the international stage, the victimization of women by Islamic laws prescribing stoning for adultery and other sexual crimes may seem to be the least of our worries. The Stoning of Soraya M., however, graphically depicts the terrible human cost of the outside world’s indifference to the stoning that are still practiced in Iran and elsewhere in the Islamic world. Yet despite this superb film’s immense power to challenge this barbaric human rights abuse, reviewers and even people connected with the film are rushing to divert attention away from or downplay the root causes of the crime the film indelibly depicts -- and by doing so, are condemning more women to suffer Soraya’s fate.
Watch Robert spencer at Pajamas TV : Global Headlines & Defining Dhimmitude
Watch Robert Spencer on YouTube More jihad news, Home and aboard
NEWS: EUROPE AND AMERICA
Sarkozy: Burkha is not welcome in France, 'it's a sign of subservience' for women - Peter Allen
President Sarkozy has risked the wrath of Muslims by backing demands for the burkha to be banned.
He declared that the full-body religious gown is a sign of the 'debasement' of women.
'In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity,' he said to extended applause in Versailles, at a joint session of France's two houses of parliament.
'The burkha is not a religious sign, it's a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement. It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic.'
The president was supporting a weekend call by dozens of French politicians for a parliamentary commission to study whether the burkha, which is growing in popularity in France, should be banned.
He laid out his support for a ban even before the panel has been approved - braving critics who fear the issue could stigmatise Muslims in France.
Remarkably, his comments came only hours before he was to host a state dinner with Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani of Qatar.
Many women in the Gulf state wear Islamic head coverings in public - whether while shopping or driving cars.
A place where Israel is loved - MICHAEL FREUND
Tucked away in a far corner of northern Europe, the tranquil and resourceful nation of Finland often gets unjustly overlooked. Flanked by a swaggering and increasingly quarrelsome Russia to the east and its larger and blonder Swedish neighbor to the west, the Finns seem to receive neither the attention nor the consideration that they rightly deserve. Indeed, despite being beset by harsh winters and a dearth of arable land, as well as enjoying the dubious distinction of being the European Union's most sparsely populated country, Finland has nonetheless built one of the most pleasant and peaceful societies on the entire continent. There is little crime and virtually no political corruption, and public places are spotlessly clean, bordering on the pristine. It is akin in many ways to Switzerland, except that the Finns are nice. But there is something else that distinguishes Finland, setting it apart from much of the rest of contemporary Europe, and that is the deep-seated love and admiration for Israel that exists among large sectors of the public.
American Jews fund anti-Israel organizations - Samuel Sokol and David Bedein
Groups work with Palestinian Authority, promote Iran nukes
A U.S. organization has been receiving money from perhaps unsuspecting Jewish donors to support blatantly anti-Israel groups. American Jews wishing to donate money to Israeli causes routinely utilize local city Jewish federations as a middleman. Hundreds of millions of dollars per year are sent to Jewish federations across the country with the expectation contributions will be used to aid worthy causes in Israel. Many U.S. Jewish federations as well as individual Jewish donors give to the New Israel Fund, or NIF, a Washington, D.C.-based foundation dedicated to fostering social change and progressive causes in Israel. Is Israel aleady done for? Find out in Aaron Klein's "The Late Great State of Israel" The NIF budget comes from a combination of donors. These include the Ford Foundation, grant organizations such as the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation and the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, as well as various Jewish communal federations such as the Jewish Federation in New York, the Durham-Chapel Hill Federation and the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids.
TERRORISM, security and policy
Fury of the Jews whose party ended in slaughter -Alan Philps
FROM celebration to cemetery took only 14 hours. The whoops of delight on Thursday night, at a 12-year-old girl's coming-of-age party, turned into wails of anger at the graveyard where three of the six victims of a Palestinian attack were buried. "The Arabs have taken him away," wailed Rosa Bakshayev, one of three new widows whose husbands were interred at the cemetery in Or Akiva, a small town in northern Israel. "I want to kill them all - women and children too. Why does Israel do nothing?"
The attack at a girl's bat mitzvah party in nearby Hadera was not the most deadly in the blood-soaked history of the past 15 months. But still it completed another loop in the downward spiral of violence. Most of the victims were the so-called Mountain Jews, tough immigrants from the Caucasus region of the former Soviet Union, where a centuries-old tradition of blood feuds still holds sway.
The Stoning of Soraya M.: An Unflinching Look at the Unconscionable - Christian Toto
The pivotal scene in director Cyrus Nowrasteh’s new film unfolds slowly, letting the audience absorb every soul-crushing second. First, a hole is dug in the ground. Then, the accused adulterer is lowered into the empty space and workers bury her up to her waist in dirt. Then, the woman’s neighbors, young and old — as well as her immediate family — start collecting stones to throw at her until she dies. The Stoning of Soraya M. is unlike any film we’ve seen before. It’s an unflinching glimpse at the very worst side of Iranian culture, an indictment of a barbaric ritual defended and embraced by an entire village. And it’s based on a real-life incident. Nowrasteh, best known for writing the ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11, gives away the story in the film’s title. That he keeps the audience engaged up until the final scene is a testament to his measured approach.
First Black Saudi Appointed as Imam of the Haram Mosque in Mecca Accuses Shiites of Apostasy
Discusses the Driving Out of Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula, and Claims: My Apointment More Significant Than Obama's Election
GLOBAL GOVERNANCE & RADICAL
CEI Releases Global Warming Study Censored by EPA - Richard Morrison
The Competitive Enterprise Institute is today making public an internal study on climate science which was suppressed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Internal EPA email messages, released by CEI earlier in the week, indicate that the report was kept under wraps and its author silenced because of pressure to support the Administration’s agenda of regulating carbon dioxide.
The report finds that EPA, by adopting the United Nations’ 2007 “Fourth Assessment” report, is relying on outdated research and is ignoring major new developments. Those developments include a continued decline in global temperatures, a new consensus that future hurricanes will not be more frequent or intense, and new findings that water vapor will moderate, rather than exacerbate, temperature.
New data also indicate that ocean cycles are probably the most important single factor in explaining temperature fluctuations, though solar cycles may play a role as well, and that reliable satellite data undercut the likelihood of endangerment from greenhouse gases. All of this demonstrates EPA should independently analyze the science, rather than just adopt the conclusions of outside organizations.
Rogue State Nuke: The Ultimate IED - David Wood
U.S. military forces are poorly equipped and untrained to face nuclear-armed opponents such as North Korea who are seeking to neutralize American military superiority -- much as insurgents did with IEDs in Iraq.
Defense Department experts say soldiers and Marines haven't been equipped or trained to fight in a nuclear-contaminated environment since the Cold War ended a generation ago. Aircraft carriers, warplanes and military command and communications networks are insufficiently hardened against the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by a nuclear blast that can burn out electronics systems.
This vulnerability to battlefield nuclear attack or blackmail was seen as an "acceptable risk'' for a decade or more because an Iranian or North Korean bomb seemed a distant threat. Meantime, American diplomats struggled to bring these nuclear development and testing programs to a halt.
The failure of this effort was rudely underscored last week as North Korea's Kim Jong Il defiantly flung an A-bomb test and a flurry of missile launches at the outside world. Even though Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that the United States "will not accept'' a nuclear-armed North Korea, the belligerent regime is going ahead with preparations to test-launch a long-range, three-stage intercontinental ballistic missile.