GARRYOWEN — June 25, 1876, marks an infamous date in U.S. history – Custer’s Last Stand.
Now, 145 years later, Jim Real Bird and his brothers Henry and Mark host the Battle of the Little Bighorn reenactment events on their land.
It all started with a movie scene filmed in the late 1960s.
“We were warriors in Little Big Man. This was the camp for Little Big Man. Some of the scenes in Little Big Man, the old movie, it was right here. We rode off of that cliff right there. The first scene we ever did,” said Jim Real Bird.
With time, comes change.
“Now I kinda just run parking. I used to do the warrior scenes, but now I’m in the parking lot, but I’m still involved,” said Jim with a laugh.
This weekend’s reenactments come after 2020’s reenactments were canceled due to the pandemic.
“We’re expecting really big crowds and a better show,” Real Bird said.
Located between Crow Agency and Garryowen, the reenactment site sits along the three-mile stretch where the encampment for the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors stood when George Armstrong Custer met his demise.
“We’re still doing this battle thing, it just part of our family, because of the land,” Real Bird said.
He describes it as a land with strong spiritual ties.
“Everything I do, it’s from the land, the creator is right here for us every day,” Real Bird said.
“All these visitors that come, we welcome all people for three days. And they have their own relationship with this land, and then they keep coming back,” Real Bird said.
His family’s horses are what Real Bird believes makes the reenactment come to life.
“We set up the sound, electricity, and all that. Actually, these, with the land and the background, what you see. We’re just all part of it. Like, temporarily. We like to think different though, as people,” Real Bird said with a laugh.
The reenactments are scheduled to take place on Friday, June 25, Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27 at 1 p.m.
To get to the reenactment site, turn onto Whistling Water Loop from the East Frontage Road between Garryowen and Crow Agency.
Click here to visit the Real Bird reenactment website for more information.