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More to See >> Dog's Back Bone Marker
New Warrior Marker Dedicated For Long Road, Sans Arc Lakota
By John A. Doerner, Chief Historian, Little Bighorn Battlefield
A new marker for “Cankuhanska” (Long Road), Sans Arc Lakota Sioux warrior killed on June 26, 1876 during the historic Battle of the Little Bighorn, was dedicated at 3:00 PM Tuesday June 26, 2001 during a brief ceremony at the Reno-Benteen Battlefield.
Superintendent Neil C. Mangum welcomed the audience, and Chief Historian John A. Doerner gave a brief overview on Long Road’s death and the marker project. George Roybal, Assiniboine Sioux from Ft. Peck, Montana then offered a traditional prayer to the four winds over the red granite headstone, before unveiling it to small audience gathered on the picturesque bluffs above the Little Bighorn River.
Long Road was killed on June 26, 1876 while attempting to charge an entrenched position held by the 7th cavalry. Unfortunately little is known of him. Joseph White Bull, Minnenconjou Lakota recalled “Two men were killed in the fight with Reno on the bluffs that afternoon: Dog’s Backbone (Minneconjou); he was shot down right in front of White Bull. Long Road, a Sans Arc, was shot while trying to count coup on the soldiers in the trench.”
In 1909 Private Jacob Adams, Company H, 7th Cavalry, recalled “While effecting a slight change of position [on June 26] my tent-mate, Thomas Meador of West Virginia, fell with a dangerous wound in his right breast. I attempted to carry my wounded comrade back across the ridge, when another bullet struck him in the head, ending his life instantly. I dropped the body and hurried to shelter and when I happened to look back I saw an Indian [Long Road] with a long stick adorned with feathers trying to reach Meador’s form. I felt my whole nature revolt, and I assure you that Indian never attempted another such feat.” Private Jacob Adams, Company H, 7th Cavalry 1909.
Long Road was killed within the Company H line and the Lakota were unable to recover his body until sometime after the battle. The Sioux also erected a small stone cairn to commemorate the site where he bravely died trying to count coup on Private Meador. During a visit to the battlefield in 1898, Charles A. Varnum, formerly of Company A, 7th Cavalry and Custer’s Chief of Scouts during the battle, walked over the battlefield and came across a stone cairn with sticks and red cloth medicine bundles tied to them stuck into the ground at the site. This important account indicates that the Sioux continued to visit the site over the years to pay homage to the bravery of their fellow tribesman.
Long Road’s marker, erected a few yards from his original stone cairn, is the third warrior marker erected at Little Bighorn Battlefield, and the first for a Lakota Sioux casualty. In 1999 markers were erected for Southern Cheyenne Chief Lame White Man, and Noisy Walking, Northern Cheyenne casualties from the Custer Fight. The new red granite marker was donated by Salt Lake Monument, Salt Lake City, Utah and was cut to the same dimensions as the historic 7th Cavalry markers first erected in 1890. The Cheyenne River Sioux symbol features prominently at the top, with his Lakota and English name, and brief description of his death. The reverse features an inventory number and June 26, 2001 dedication date. The inscription reads:
A SANS ARC SIOUX WARRIOR
DIED HERE ON
JUNE 26, 1876
HIS HOMELAND AND
WAY OF LIFE
Future warrior markers are planned at other historically documented warrior casualty sites, including the site for Dog’s Backbone, which is also marked by a stone cairn.
Today, the historic 7th cavalry and new warrior markers serve as poignant reminders of that fateful battle fought on June 25-26, 1876. The markers add to the important legacy of this hallowed ground and are a striking and powerful contrast to the historic cultural landscape of Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
Copyright 1999-2013 Bob Reece
Friends Little Bighorn Battlefield, P.O. Box 636, Crow Agency, MT 59022