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Nathaniel Philbrick on Little Bighorn

Taking a fresh look at Custer, Sitting Bull, and Little Bighorn. We speak with historian and best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick.

George Armstrong Custer (played by Tony Austin) stands with his flag surrounded by cavalry and warriors before his death Friday, June 26, 1998, during Custer's Last Stand Reenactment in Hardin, Mt. (AP)

July, 1876, the United States was deep in celebration of the century since its birth.

There were big Independence Day parades and glorious speeches.

And then, on July 7th, 1876 – shocking news from the Western frontier reached the public: America’s most famous Indian fighter, and all his men, had been defeated – slaughtered – at the Little Big Horn.

The Lakota Sioux’s Sitting Bull was the victor. George Armstrong Custer, the vanquished.

And Custer’s Last Stand became core American lore.

This Hour, On Point: historian Nathaniel Philbrick goes back to the Little Big Horn.

Guests:
Nathaniel Philbrick, author of “The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn.” You can read an excerpt here.  Also author of “Mayflower,” and “In the Heart of the Sea.”

Ernie LaPointe, great-grandson of Sitting Bull.  Author of “Sitting Bull, his Life and Legacy.”  You can read an excerpt here.

More:

Undated photo of Sitting Bull. (AP)

Gen. George A. Custer shown in an undated photo. (AP)

Sitting Bull (Photograph by D. F. Barry, 1885, Credit: Wikipedia, Library of Congress)

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Apr 24, 2015
The Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP)

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Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

Artists of earth and sky. Rawhide, bear claw, eagle feathers and the glory of America’s Plans Indians, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Apr 24, 2015
Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

Artists of earth and sky. Rawhide, bear claw, eagle feathers and the glory of America’s Plans Indians, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 
Apr 24, 2015
The Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP)

Loretta Lynch gets a vote. Race and anger in Baltimore. Migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Petraeus, sentenced. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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