(MTN News) The Real Bird family puts on a reenactment of the Battle of The Little Big Horn in Medicine Tail near Garryowen and Crow Agency each year.
It’s the land and history that are special to the family and those involved.
“I feel as special as my grandpa’s land, his dad’s land,” said Gold Man Real Bird, who plays one of the main warriors. “Obviously, they had the battle here.”
“Freedom,” Jim Real Bird, Gold Man’s grandfather and event organizer, said about horses, “You’re floating on your horse. You’ve got so much balancing, you’re not hanging on, no limits when you got one of the best horses and you can feel them you can, it’s like movement that’s so powerful.”
The Real Bird family businesses horses, and it’s that connection that inspires the family to put on the reenactment for three days, because of the importance of horses in the battle.
“If you were riding the best that day, you weren’t going to get shot,” Jim said. “(The horse) was going to take you wherever you were protected.”
Those on the cavalry side also have a bond with the horses and share a special feel for the land.
“I’ve actually burst into tears, just the emotion of it all, and taking it in,” said Steve Fox, who played a cavalry soldier. “We’re on the same ground 145 years later. We’re immersing ourselves as deeply as possible into what those soldiers and men went through.”
The National Anthem and the U.S. Flag are also a big part of the proceedings.
“We were uniting the people from all directions,” Jim Real Bird said.
“We’re all good friends,” Gold Man Real Bird said about the reenactment actors and crew. “Nobody’s bad to each other. Try to treat everybody well. Everybody should be united as one.”
More information is available on the Battle of the Little Big Horn Reenactment website.