Thursday, July 16, 2009
all around me, peaceful*
We left Bozeman at 9:30 this morning, after getting to spend some time covered up in nephews. As excited as I am to get home again, I am going to miss those boys and my sister and bro-in-law. It was a wonderful trip and so great to be with them. I know we will never live close enough to get together randomly, but there is the chace for a meeting in DC next summer: I really hope we're able to make that work. 2 years between visits is just too long.
Our stop of today was at Little Big Horn Battlefield. For those of you who are not history buffs, this is where Custer made his Last Stand. In fairness, the visitor center did try to represent both sides equally, but my bias towards the Native Americans overwhelmed me. Custer doesn't deserve any respect! He came in and took thier lands and expected thanks and a ticker tape parade? Um, hello? What planet are you coming from? Oh, right Eastern European White Man Who Thinks He Deserves Everything. I remember now.
Finally, in 1991 (I was in college now, people, and the Battle had happened 115 years prior) a Native designed monument was erected. I think they did an amazing job with the design-- it is built into a hill, and barely visable from the road. It is built in a circle, which is very significant in Native religion. The walls are lined with quotes and thanks for the sacrifies made there. Sitting Bull summed it up perfectly in 1881: "They attacked out village and we killed them all. What would you do if your home was attacked? You would stand up like a brave man and defend it." Sorry, President Grant, but just because the only tool you possessed was a hammer doesn't mean it was the right tool for the job.
Later tonight, watching the kids swim in the pool Tom Bodett kept clean for us, I was struck by how much they enjoy each other. They were laughing and playing and generally enjoying each other's company. Juxtaposed with the stop-of-the-day, I again found myself thankful for my life. I get to live the way I choose, surrounded by so many wonderful people that I sometimes feel spoiled. If someone attacked us and said you have to give up your beliefs and religion and traditions and your home, well, I think I'd fight back to.
*today's winning picture is one of these. Let me know your preference... or if you want me to chose, it'll be the first one.