Colonel Rodney G. Thomas is a retired thirty-year veteran of the United States Army. Rod holds a BS from West Virginia University, a MA in National Security and Strategy from the U.S. Naval War College and a MS in Transportation Management from Florida Institute of Technology. He graduated from the United States Army Command and General Staff College, the United States Army War College Strategist Program, and the United States Naval War College. He served eighteen years overseas and is a Southwest Asia combat veteran. He commanded units at platoon, company, battalion, and brigade level. He is a co-founding director of the Association of 3rd Armored Division Veterans.
He was first published in the Journal of the Indian Wars and subsequently served as an associate editor along with his regular column “Thomas On-line.” He was Editor for five years of the peer-reviewed annual historical journal Greasy Grass published by the Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association. Rod also served for two years as Editor of the Little Big Horn Associates Newsletter. His works are published in several historical publications including Congressional Quarterly Press, ABC-CLIO, Greenwood Press, and the Michigan War Studies Review. His first book, Rubbing Out Long Hair, about the Indian warrior art and testimony about the battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876, was published in 2009 and awarded the 2010 G. Joseph Sills, Jr. Book Award by the Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association.
A respected researcher, his completed projects about American Indian warrior art include works in the Autry, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Cranbrook Institute of Science, the St. Joseph Museum, the Philbrook, and the Smithsonian. Current research continues on art at the National Museum of the American Indian, the Smithsonian, the St. Joseph, and the Field Museum. Papers have been presented at the CBHMA Annual Symposium, the Order of the Indian Wars, the Plains Indian Wars Symposium, the Cranbrook Institute of Science, the Material Culture of the Prairie, Plains, and Plateau Conference, and the St. Joseph Museum.
In November 2017, he was the guest lecturer at the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Detroit, Michigan about the Kicking Bear painting of the Little Big Horn in their collections. His last presentation was in August 2018 at the St. Joseph Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri about the Standing Bear painting of the Little Big Horn and the art of Crow artist White Arm in their collections.
His next book is a biography of White Swan, a nineteenth century Crow warrior and prolific artist.
Rubbing Out Long Hair-Pehin Hanska Kasota: The American Indian Story of the Little Big Horn in Art and Word.
Rubbing Out Long Hair is the first reference to publish all known Indian art of the
battle of the Little Big Horn River in 1876 in which the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne
peoples successfully defended their way of life. It was also the last such success.
26 Indian artists are showcased in over 250 images, most in full color and are coupled
with appropriate narratives from both sides to tell a more complete story than ever
before. Some of the art is well known to the general public while most of it is not.
Colonel Thomas has crafted a superb reference from which, as he notes in the Preface,
more definitive understanding of this event can begin. Extensively researched and
documented in over 300 pages, Rubbing Out Long Hair will be a major art, history,
and battle reference for quite some time. There simply is no other work like it.
Biilaachia-White Swan: Crow Warrior - Custer Scout - American Artist2022