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Rare Indigenous eyewitness account of Battle of the Little Bighorn found in Ontario

TU Curmudgeon

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From the CBC


When Samantha Thompson read the first line of a long-lost letter, she knew that her work to authenticate and transcribe the mysterious set of rolled-up documents, packed away for some future archivist, was worth it.

"I remember where I was sitting at my desk and I started reading: 'I was born in Montana, my father died when I was four years old and so I lived with my mother and sister and my grandparents and my uncle,' and my heart started beating faster," said Thompson, an archivist at the Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives in Brampton, Ont.

A few months earlier, Thompson had been going through one of 60 boxes donated to the museum. She came across several pages of thick paper — on one was a detailed watercolour painting, and the others were made up of what looked like two letters, one lengthy and the other short.

While there were some English names like "Reno," "Custer" and "Montana," the letter was written in Old German, a rare dialect that fell out of use around the Second World War.

"Right away we had this mystery. Why is somebody writing in Old German about what seems to relate to a possibly significant event in U.S. history?" Thompson told Rosanna Deerchild in an interview for Unreserved.

COMMENT:-

If the letters had been found in a small museum in the US, which would have been the most likely result

[1] ___ they would have been handed over to the descendants of the letter writer,

[2] ___ they would have been put on display in the museum,

[3] ___ they would have been sold at auction to a private collector who would have donated them to a museum for the tax write off,

or

[4] ___ they would have been sold at auction to a private collector and never seen again for _[fill in the blank]_ years?​
 

phoenix2020

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Cool article and read - thanks!

I’m happy that the letter and associated materials survived and are being cared for.
 

Chainsawmassacre

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I visited that battle field years ago and did the auto tour on my mt bike. Fascinating to actually see where and how everything occurred.
 

TU Curmudgeon

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I visited that battle field years ago and did the auto tour on my mt bike. Fascinating to actually see where and how everything occurred.
I have attended the US Cavalry School (that is NOT a paid plug) twice. Their 8 day course is pricey (if you have to rent everything from Uniform right on through horse, it runs around $3,000), however you really cannot get a better idea of what went on at the Battle of Greasy Grass than to do so (even the Park Rangers don't know as much about the battle as the staff at the US Cavalry School does).
 
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