Three forces led by Crook, Gibbon, and Custer were dispatched to bring about the defeat of the Lakota. The US Army thought it could trap the Indians and end the Indian problem. However, Custer made a series of errors, which turned the table.
This incredible victory would bring terror, sorrow, and death. Crazy Horse would be killed in 1877 after surrendering. Sitting Bull would surrender and be killed on a reservation in 1890. From June 25, 1876 until December 29, 1890, the Lakota would be hunted down, put on reservations, and finally over 200 Lakota would be massacred at Wounded Knee bringing about the end of the "Indian conflicts."
The bright spot in all of this is the Lakota were not utterly destroyed. Their way of life was forever changed, but the army couldn't destroy their spirit. Marshall says, "The forces that sent armies to herd our ancestors onto reservations could not destroy the essence of our culture."
The Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho are still among us. Most are on reservations today, but they have preserved their culture, traditions, and language for the most part. And, within the last few years, both sides of the story has been told. What was once called Custer's Last Stand, is now called the Battle of Little Bighorn. And, thankfully, reasonable people realize the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho were defending their way of life - just as all of us would do if we were suddenly invaded by hostile forces today.
Little Bighorn is now a National Monument where both the 7th Cavalry and the Indian tribes are remembered and honored for both sides fought bravely that day in 1876, and as with any war only one side could be victorious.
Perhaps the lesson we can learn from this is arrogance can make us think we are invincible when in fact all it really does is cloud our ability to see how vulnerable we are until it's too late.