Custer’s Last Flag Sells for $1.9 Million at Auction to Help Native Americans

Filed in Gather News Channel by on December 10, 2010 0 Comments

A flag carried by Custer’s Seventh Cavalry is about to help Native Americans instead of leading a charge against them. The Detroit Institute of the Arts auctioned it off to support its Native American Arts department. Irony is sweet sometimes.

Custer’s last flag, known as the Culbertson Guidon, sold for a total of $2.2 million at auction, which is $1.9 million plus commission. It originally sold to the Detroit Musem for $54 in 1890. Inflation can be beneficial sometimes.

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 03: Custer's Last Flag is seen in a frame at Sotheby's auction house December 3, 2010 in New York City. The flag, one of the few remnants of the famous 1876 battle in which General George Custer and his men were slaughtered by a band of Native American warriors after he staged a misgiuded attack, is billed as the most significant and symbolic artefact recovered from the Little Bighorn battlefield and is scheduled to be auctioned on December 10. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

Custer’s troops carried the flag into the Battle of the Little Big Horn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand. The Seventh Cavalry attacked a Sioux Nation village and was wiped out in about 20 minutes on June 25, 1876. It’s how it goes when you send 200 in against thousands.

Custer’s flag came to be in the hands of the Detroit Institute of the Arts thanks to Sgt. Fred Culbertson finding it under the body of Cpl. John Foley two days after the failed attack. The Detroit News notes that Foley was hidden by tall weeds, so trophy-seekers failed to find him.

Custer’s flag being sold to support Native American arts is indeed fitting. General George Armstrong Custer was a petty, hateful human being trying to become President on the backs of a pile of dead Indians.

Many people look at Custer’s flag from the Battle of the Little Big Horn and see bravery under impossible odds. Many others see it as a symbol of the embarrassing treatment of America’s first peoples.

Custer’s flag should remind everyone that the United States was built out of the blood of thousands, including people whose only sin was living here first. If the Culbertson Guidon can teach that, it will do more than the sale of it will.

Article ©2010 Brenda Daverin for Gather.com. All rights reserved.

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