Saturday, May 5, 2012

Indians and Arrows

By Julie Rahm                         
           Custer’s last stand was a battle between the Seventh Cavalry Regiment and the combined tribes of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. The battle took place near the Little Big Horn River in Montana. It was the most famous battle of the Great Sioux Indian War and took place on the 25th and 26th of June 1876. There were roughly 1800 Indians. Lieutenant Colonel Custer’s battalion numbered roughly 650 soldiers. Of course, the battle was an overwhelming victory for the Indians. The U.S. Seventh Cavalry, including the Custer Battalion, suffered a severe defeat. Five of the Seventh's companies were annihilated; Custer was killed, as were two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. Total U.S. deaths were 268, including scouts, and 55 were wounded. Estimates place the Indian deaths at 136 with 168 wounded. 
My husband, John always corrects people when they refer to General Custer at Little Big Horn. Custer was a General during the Civil War but was returned to his permanent rank of Captain when the Civil War ended. In those times, most wartime promotions were temporary. Custer had a noteworthy record during the Civil War and specifically at the battle of Gettysburg where he defended the Union flank and defeated the famous Confederate cavalry General, Jeb Stuart. After the Civil War, at the request of General Sheridan, Custer was recruited to fight the Indians. Custer was a Lieutenant Colonel at Little Big Horn, not a General. Now you know. Regardless of his rank, controversy has been part of the Custer legacy. If Custer had survived the battle, he surely would have faced a formal inquisition. His decisions are still debated 136 years later. My husband, John studied the battle when he attended Marine Corps Command and Staff College. His profound assessment is, “It was not the Indians; it was the arrows.”
So it is with life. It is not people that cause upset. It is our reaction to the arrows they shoot in our direction. It is the effect of what they say and do that causes the angst in our peaceful routine. To some, it seems the arrows are always flying towards them. They are battling their way through life. I advocate a strong defense. And, a strong defense starts with recognition. Recognize the arrow for what it is. Then, neutralize the arrow by remembering the earliest time you felt the same way. Choose to either avoid the antagonists or neutralize their effect on you. Do not continue to stand in the line-of-fire. If the offender is a friend, perhaps a new friend would serve you better. It is okay to allow a friendship that is not serving you well to fade away. If the offender is a family member, avoidance might be more difficult but still possible.
So take a lesson from Lieutenant Colonel Custer, avoid the arrows by avoiding the Indians in your life. And, if you would like help, contact me through my website at

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