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New Sources On Arikara Scouts

New Sources on the Arikara Scouts

A sustaining myth of the Battle of the Little Bighorn is George Custer zealously pursuing the Indians and attacking the village on the Little Bighorn one day early simply to satisfy his ambition to be President of the United States. This myth's death was almost certain until Nathaniel Philbrick resuscitated it in his 2010 bestselling “The Last Stand” (see pages 39-40 of the first edition).

O.G. Libby’s book, Arikara Narrative of Custer's Campaign and the Battle of the Little Bighorn is the genesis of this myth. It was Custer’s Arikara scouts who claimed that Custer told them that he would take care of them once he became President. Even if the Custer family once held such a lofty ambition – as Philbrick claims – it does not prove that George Custer was so driven.

In this section of the website, we are honored to present further study of the original Arikara interviews as researched and edited by the historian Mark van de Logt. Many of you will recognize Mr. van de Logt’s name from his book, War Party in Blue: Pawnee Scouts in the U.S. Army. Additionally, we are happy to provide an extensive interview with Mr. van de Logt in which we discuss Custer and the White House as well as other subjects.

Arikara Scouts

All photos are courtesy of Glenwood Swanson


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