Winning Design Entry
From a distance the memorial appears to be an elemental landform, recalling the ancient earthworks found throughout the continent. An Integral relationship is established with the 7th Cavalry Monument via an axis which connects the center of each element. Where this axis bisects the earthen enclosure, a weeping wound or cut exists to signify the conflict of the two worlds. Two large adorned wooden posts straddle this gap and form a "spirit gate" (not for passage of visitors) to welcome the Cavalry dead and to symbolize the mutual understanding of the infinite all the dead possess. This gate also serves as a visible landmark and counterpoint to the 7th Cavalry obelisk.
Excepting this axial gesture to the existing monument the memorial is aligned with the cardinal points. The Plains Indian custom of entering their dwellings from the east and turning left (to the south) to follow the path of the sun is reflected in the design. An interpretive "living memorial" wall occupies the south face of the inner sanctum
Selected texts, narratives, quotes, crafts, artifacts, offerings, petroglyphs and pictographs are all employed to immerse the visitor in the diverse culture of Indian men, women, and children and convey the "Peace Through Unity" message.
Petroglyphs and pictographs, the traditional means of imparting a story, commemorating an epic event or elevating a place to a sacred plane serves as inspiration for the work to the north. Stone and animal hide are the usual backgrounds for such images. These large scale bronze ethereal tracings of three (Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe) warriors however are silhouetted against the constant yet ever changing Great Plains sky-the proverbial home of the Spirit.
Did You Know?
More than half of the 7th Cavalry survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn. About 350 soldiers under the command of Major Reno and Captain Benteen survived five miles south of where Custer and five companies were annihilated.