The Battle of Little Bighorn, or as many know it, Custer’s Last Stand, happened in the summer of 1876. The Sioux Tribe had been given exclusive rights to their Black Hills, a land that was sacred to them. The Sioux had decided to relinquish other land in a treaty with the U.S. government in order to have right of domain over the Black Hills. When a sacrifice is made, you have to hope that it is the right decision and that it is worth the loss. Ultimately, the terms of their treaty with the government shows very clearly how important the sacred Black Hills were to them. Inevitably, though, conflict arose.
Rumor of gold in the Black Hills had circulated for a long time, but the claims picked up fervor around this time, in the mid to late 1800s, and white miners, seeking an easy fortune, invaded the area. The government had used Custer and his men to study the Black Hills, looking for gold themselves, and when the Sioux tribes tried to get the miners and other white men to leave, the U.S. government at that time told them no, that the miners could stay, and ordered the Sioux away from their own land.
There was a great deal of distrust on both sides, and, at this time, most white men did not have any true comprehension or have much respect for the Native American way of life. It is easy to dismiss and disparage that which you do not understand, but it is never the right frame of mind to have. After gold fever had set in, what little sense people possessed evaporated, more or less, because the whole scheme was, through and through, morally wrong.
Custer and his men, many of whom were veterans of the Civil War, were tasked with the job of removing the Sioux tribe from their sacred land and forcing them back onto their reservations. The Native Americans stood their ground, and the U.S. government prepared for battle.