Walt Whitman The Last Stand Analysis

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In 1875, many Sioux and Cheyenne left their reservations, frustrated with the U.S. Government and the infringement of treaties and with white settlers encroaching into the sacred land in the Black Hills in search of gold. Seven thousand Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho assembled in the summer of 1876 on the banks of the Little Bighorn River, (King, 2016). During this time the Secretary of War, J.D. Cameron reported to the U.S. Senate and President in 1876, “The true Policy, in my judgment, is to send troops against them in the winter, the sooner the better, and whip them into subjection. They richly merit punishment for this incessant warfare.” Though the battle is now looked at in a different light, it is still remembered mainly through the white …show more content…
Walt Whitman wrote, “Thou of sunny, flowing hair, in battle, I erewhile saw, with erect head, pressing ever in front, bearing a bright sword in thy hand, Now ending well the splendid fever of thy deeds, (I bring no dirge for it or thee—I bring a glad, triumphal sonnet;),” (1876). These are the views of the battle that are often remembered, dramatized glorifications of what was intended to be one of the largest massacres of Native Americans.
We see a very different view of the battle through the records of Lakota Chief Red Horse, who created forty-two illustrations based on his memories of the battle. The ledger drawings and accompanying testimony create a full narrative of the confrontation. Figure three depicts the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors riding out in full regalia on horseback. In figure four Red Horse describes the movement of horses and injury of the U.S. soldiers. He describes the killing of the soldiers as well as the robbing of their
…show more content…
The soldiers were divided, one party charging right into the camp. After driving these soldiers across the river, the Sioux charged the different soldiers [i.e., Custer 's] below, and drive them in confusion; these soldiers became foolish, many throwing away their guns and raising their hands, saying, "Sioux, pity us; take U.S. prisoners." The Sioux did not take a single soldier prisoner, but killed all of them; none were left alive for even a few minutes. These different soldiers discharged their guns but little. I took a gun and two belts off two dead soldiers; out of one belt two cartridges were gone, out of the other five.” Red Horse, 1881
The deaths and subsequent beheadings of the U.S. soldiers is depicted in a brutally honest manner in Red Horse’s work (Figures five and six). The bodies are shown piled up and stripped, with their heads and limbs removed staining the ground with blood. The bodies of fallen Native American warriors are also illustrated, separated from the

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