Minoma Littlehawk served as a Place and Native Voice Intern at Washita Battleground National Historic Site in western Oklahoma in the summer of 2009; and at Little Bighorn Battleground National Monument in Montana in 2010. A member of the Southern Cheyenne tribe who also has relatives among the Northern Cheyenne, she traces her ancestry to relatives massacred by Colonel Custer’s cavalry forces at Black Kettle’s camp on Oklahoma’s Washita River in November of 1868.
Minoma was a student at Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College in western Oklahoma, from which she graduated in 2010. In addition to hosting interpretive presentations at the Washita Battleground Visitor Center on the centrality of the buffalo to Cheyenne culture, she also led walking tours of the battleground site, pointing out the locations where her unarmed ancestors fell to Custer’s men’s guns and sabres; and to the site where Cheyenne warriors soon thereafter wiped out a cavalry contingent Custer had left behind to cover his retreat. Her personal connection to the site and her telling of stories of the massacre handed down by her elders brought to life these historic events on the now-peaceful banks of the Washita.