Monday, October 3, 2005
Big Sky Briefs
of Reno’s Command Tours Custer Battlefield Museum
-- Last week, the historic town of
was honored with a visit by Forrest Girard, an enrolled member of the Blackfoot
tribe, and his lifelong friend Stan Stephens, an enrolled Crow Tribal member.
Mr. Girard is the grandson of Frederick F. Girard, who served under General
’s interpreter at the
of the Little Big Horn.
has fantastic exhibits,” Mr. Girard noted, after enjoying lunch and receiving
a personalized tour of the complex and grounds by Museum Director Chris
Kortlander. Both Mr. Stephens and Mr. Girard were notably impressed with the
exceptional collection of artifacts and ephemera housed in the Museum.
“Garryowen is a must-see for locals and visitors, alike,” added Mr.
Stephens. “I’ve lived here my whole life, and like many nearby residents, I
never took the time to visit this wonderful museum. I’m so glad I came,
Forrest Girard (left) and
Stan Stephens (right)
for a picture with Chris Kortlander, director of the Custer Battlefield Museum.
Mr. Girard’s grandfather, Frederick F. Girard, served as
post interpreter at Fort Abraham Lincoln for Arikara and Sioux scouts from 1872
to 1883, and was hired by order of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer as
interpreter for the 7th Cavalry in 1876. In a letter to his children
July 6, 1876
, immediately following the fight at the Little Big Horn, he wrote:
“You will no doubt see by the
papers that Gen. Custer’s command had a fight with the Indians on the Little
Big Horn, where Gen. Custer and 12 officers and nigh on to 300 men were killed.
During the fight, I with 3 others became separated & hid in the brush for 2
days & one night, and had a narrow escape from drowning. I escaped through
the grace of God. If I ever return to [Fort]
I shall never go out again with an expedition. I lost many good & true
“We are truly privileged to welcome descendents from both
sides of the
,” said Kortlander. “It’s easy to forget that this battle occurred only a
few generations ago, and it’s not unusual for a descendent to come to our
Museum to do research on their ancestry. It is always a privilege to welcome
descendents from the
Mr. Forrest, now 80 years old, makes his home in
, and is in
visiting Mr. Stephens of Prior,
. Both gentlemen made the trek to Garryowen to visit the Museum and see the
place where the
Article Courtesy of the Big