Little Bighorn Monument
September 5, 2017
As the Expedition crew was walking around the cemetery, I was drawn to a particular headstone chiseled with black lettering which contrasted to the standard white lettering of the other graves. The name read "George Curley Old Elk - PVT, US Army World War II".
A few days prior, we were at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and were given the opportunity to have Hunter Old Elk as our guide through the Plains Indian Museum, and so I reached out to her through an Instagram direct message to see if she had any relation to George.
Hunter responded to my message saying that George Curley Old Elk was her great grandfather who was raised by Curley, the crow scout for General George Armstrong Custer, who led the 7th Cavalry.
Meeting Hunter so recently and learning about the connection she has with the Battle of Little Bighorn goes to show how relevant Western history still is with people living today. This reality makes it important to know and study the past the modern day.
I am so grateful Hunter provided us an atmosphere to ask personal and controversial questions about her culture and family as native people. She made it very easy to learn and understand about the absence of women in history, while also explaining their importance and contributions.
As we visit more historical sites through the West, I hope we will be able to develop more intimate connections with the people we meet and gain unique perspectives.