Our Military Life Blog

Black Hills – Week 2

Hello again readers! It is time to move into our next segment of reading! Hard to believe it has already been a week! But we are going to power through this read! So as before, if you want to miss some “interesting” scenes, I suggest skipping through Chapter 10. I am not sure why the writer has written George Armstrong Custer in this way, but, there is always a bit of artistic license that goes into books. Just want to give you the heads up, dear readers, before you dive into this week’s sections!


Paha Sapa and Limps A lot are headed to a gathering of the Chiefs, and will be meeting Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. As they watch the preparation for the gathering of the tribes, Paha Sapa is amazed at all the preparation and work that goes into making sure that everything is perfect and following the ancient ways. As the time goes by and more and more people show up, the prairie seems to take on a life of its own. Each of the men spend their time cleansing themselves, and then making the cuts on their bodies for the ceremonial dance. Paha Sapa is taken into a meeting with Sitting Bull, and several of the other Chiefs. As a small boy staring back at the major leaders of the Lakota tribes, it must have been terrifying! With his small vision backward or forward touching abilities having been told to them, they want to judge for themselves. The possibility of being able to use them to help the tribe, is something that is a lot for a little boy to even think about. However, Sitting Bull is not wanting to exploit it. He wants Paha Sapa to find his own way, and make sure that the visions that he is seeing are not a trick of some kind, meant to lure him away from his true calling. Crazy Horse, however, wants something different. He wants Paha Sapa to tell him how he is going to die. What Paha Sapa sees scares him and he is unable to tell the Chief exactly what he has seen. When Crazy Horse becomes upset and storms out, he leaves with the promise to hunt the young boy down and kill him. Limps A Lot has decided that the time has come for Paha Sapa to leave and begin the hanbleceya, the journey that each young boy must go through to gain his manhood. As he pushes through his journey, he is caught in a rain that seems to never cease. Feverish, cold and soaked through, he begins looking for a place to stay the night. As he nears a cave, he notices that it is already occupied, but he decides to go ahead. When he gets inside, he finds an older man cooking a couple of rabbits and seeming to already know that Paha Sapa is doing and where he is going. As the evening wears on, the older man continues to surprise the young boy with his insights.

Moving into the present time, as an older man, Paha Sapa can only think of how to destroy the monument that is being constructed, and the best way to do it. Present day and past seem to meld together as memories wash over him. The voice of Long Hair (George Armstrong Custer) still comes to his mind, and they even converse back and forth at times. As he works on placing the dynamite charges and making sure that all is according to the plans that have been drawn up, his mind is on the unstable dynamite in his cabin and the hope that it does not explode before he can place it where he wants it. As his body continues to weaken from the cancer that is eating away at him, the plans in his mind keep pushing forward.

Doane Robinson is the leading historian for the state of South Dakota, and he has been asking Paha Sapa lots of questions about his past and some of the leading figures of the Lakota tribe. There are times that Paha Sapa is hesitant to answer, as if he does not want to give away everything. He is after all, one of the last members of his tribe, and he wants to keep some of the memories just for himself. But it seems as thought he is after some very specific information…

This week we are reading Chapters 7-13


  1. The plan that Paha Sapa has is very simple, but very destructive. Why do you think he wants to erase the monument completely?
  2. The author seems to brush over the battle known as the Little Big Horn. Why?
  3. Machinery seems to have a special interest for Paha Sapa. Why?
  4. Rain and Paha Sapa spend some time together at the fair. Why do you think he is hesitant to go on the Ferris Wheel?
  5. The book goes between the past and the present. Do you find this hard to follow or is it easy enough to keep track of?