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Custer and around 260 of his men died at Little Bighorn, but how many Sioux and Cheyenne Indians died at Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876?

Fatalities in the 7th Cavalry Regiment during Bighorn (or the Battle of the Greasy Grass to use the winners’ term for it) totaled 259. Figuring out the Indian casualties has been complicated by inconsistencies in their accounts and pictorial depictions, largely because Indians often bore more than one name and some of the deaths may have been duplicated.

Attached is a recent listing by name (or names) that may reconcile those factors to set the losses at 31 warriors (seven of whom were Cheyenne, the rest Lakota), six women and four children.

John Koster, one of the contributing writers to Wild West for whom the Little Bighorn borders on obsession, came up with a similar statistic:

One Bull, a Cheyenne who lived near the Little Bighorn battlefield on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation supplied Walter Mason Camp with a list of 26 warriors killed at the Little Bighorn battle in 1876, with their names. I believe he said there were seven Cheyenne and 19 Lakota. Major Marcus Reno said he saw 18 dead Indian warriors on the battlefield. Since the Lakota leave their dead above-ground on scaffolds, in burial tepees or in trees, this would fit the One Bull tally closely. Some 10 to 20 women and children were also killed. The Arikara who were on the U.S, side, lost three or four warriors.

Left Hand—Napeh Chatkah—was a Hunkpapa Lakota, not a Cheyenne. He was carried on the Hunkpapa (Standing Rock) tribal casualty list. He had scouted for Custer until early June, then rejoined his own people. I think maybe they killed him by mistake but he got a warrior society funeral…

Jon Guttman
Research Director