LITTLE BIGHORN BATTLEFIELD INDIAN MEMORIAL COMPETITION, CROW AGENCY, MT. - 1997
U.S. Tour and Exhibition - 1997
More than 120 years after the conflict, the US government sponsored the Little Bighorn Battlefield Indian Memorial Competition to commemorate and honor those Native Americans who fought in this historic battle. The small circular memorial site is within view of General George Custers 7th Cavalry monument on the Crow Agency, Montana. The predominant theme for this national design competition was Peace Through Unity.
The new memorial design, in keeping with ancient beliefs, is approached along a spiraling path allowing visitors to experience and observe the memorial and surrounding landscape in 360 degrees. Visitors read and look beyond a transparent panel of information, entering the memorial circle as immigrants entered this country... looking West. A black iron arrow or wedge, suggestive of the industrial age, breaks the red stone ring inscribed with a chronological time line of broken government treaties ironically serving as the walking path for visitors. Outside this ring is the "winter count" circle of pictographic images etched on individual local stones, each tracing significant native american events from the time of European discovery of North America leading up to the 1876 battle.
At the center of the memorial is a large locally excavated stone precisely sliced into two halves with polished reflective faces using modern stone technology. Each flat face is etched with pictographic symbols representing peace and unity and oriented to reflect and layer both symbols, one through the other, from the entry point. Both these half stones are separated and pierced with a geometrically precise round hole that aligns with the 7th Cavalry monument, giving one pause to contemplate the incompatibility and inevitable conflict between two very different cultures.