Chris Hedges History Native American Genocide Video

The Chris Hedges Report: The Monstrous Myth of Custer

Chris Hedges and Nathaniel Philbrick break down the mythology behind George Armstrong Custer, a martyr for Western expansion and imperialism.

Editor’s Note: We’ve already posted the audio version of this interview here, but are reposting the video for those who prefer the visual format.

By Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of show The Chris Hedges Report.


  1. Yaaaawn.
    Hedges will be fine when the doo hits the fan. He has nothing to say to the rest of us about how to survive fascism, other than to get in the streets with the billionaire’s puppet Greta and friends.
    I don’t care what either op actor has to say. Their words are irrelevant to my survival.

    1. There you go!

      In one sentence, your words, consciously intended or not, capture the mindset of the individual greed coercively inculcated in/and running rampant in today’s American plutocratic culture: “Their words are irrelevant to my survival.”

      The majority of us are angry, but is disparaging the messenger with ad hominem invective the only way to alleviate your personal suffering?

  2. “americans have always been genocidal enjoying killing from afar”. Philip Slater…..Custer is 1 event no different from atrocities in Vietnam Korea Iraq Syria–US has 800-1000 military bases in nations across the globe….a crumbling empire—this permits exploitation but cannot prevent collapse

    1. Indigenous Peoples of the America’s are amongst the few who have witnessed and endured the violence and hate unleashed greed. Throughout the last 500 years, the Indigenous Nations have suffered the violence and genocidal acts of European settlers and their military. This followed the overwhelming pandemics and massive death toll foreign disease reaped on the Indigenous population, eliminating anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of the precontact population.

      Only slavery has levelled comparable devastation on a Peoples’ social, cultural and economic well-being. The unbridled exploitation of Peoples, lands and resources have devastated the earth’s habitat for living beings.

      The Custer story not only provides a small glitch in the story of American greatness, as any examination of the recorded observations of the Indigenous participants in this tragic historical drama exposes all the negative aspects of American military adventurism we see today.

      Since the debacle of the intervention in Vietnam, American military aggression has come to be recognized universally except in the United States. The reality of attempting to impose American ideas of democracy around the globe is the same pattern that produced the Indigenous reaction experienced by Custer.

      The military industrial complex that controls American governance appears to be unrecognizable to a consumer society, where the acquisition of material goods and pursuit of unlimited profits are the key values. As corporate control appears to be the unacknowledged driving force behind foreign policy and security strategy, the erosion of any natural basis of human cultures and heritage disappear before the forces of unfettered capitalism.

      Custer was a hero in the developing attitude of American exceptionalism, which carries on the tradition of European imperial attitudes about their moral superiority to all other peoples. This tradition glorifies the conquest of the weak by the strong.

      It has persisted over the decades of foreign American military actions. While not always popular, state public relations campaigns and corporate control of media make democratic debate irrelevant. The increasing use of impersonal boards, complex corporate block chains and computer algorithms to steer investment strategies is alienating the population from its own purposes.

      The growing income disparity, erosion of public institutions and polarization of society into increasingly intolerant political camps, unable to find common ground. This process should give this country pause to consider similar experiences of alienation suffered by the Indigenous population following Custer’s defeat.

      The key difference in the breakdown within these two societies is that historically, for the Indigenous Peoples it was an externally imposed dispossession and breakdown as the peoples’ lands and means of subsistence were taken by force. The contmporary decline of the American Empire is completely self-imposed, as the working and middle class population is incrementally dispossessed of its means of subsistence by the same forces Custer represents.

      Many Indigenous Peoples across these continents have spiritual prophecies that predicted this process would lead the way to a change in the basis of human culture in relation to the Earth and all of its creatures, recognizing how it sustains all life.

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