by Greg Mayer
This past Sunday, Joseph Medicine Crow, the last war chief of the Crow Nation, died at the age of 102 in Billings, Montana. His passing has been widely noted in the media, and one of the tributes I heard on Monday noted that his life and exploits ‘spanned centuries’. This might seem something obvious to say of a centenarian, but in fact he linked not just the 20th and 21st centuries, but also the 19th: raised in the traditional manner by Crow elders, he grew up steeped in the ways of the warrior culture of the second half of the 19th century, and may well have been the last living person whose knowledge of the Battle of the Little Bighorn (aka Custer’s Last Stand) came from intimate contact with participants in the battle.
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