The Crow are a Siouan people who originally occupied the southern
Montana and northern Wyoming area. The
were called "handsome people" by the French. The Crow were known
for their fine physical appearance and beautiful clothing. The
Crow were a horse riding, buffalo hunting people.
Just in striking photos of the Crow
The Crow nation,
was a large and powerful nation. They were bitter enemies of the
Lakota. Crow scouts were often used by the US Army. It was
Crow scouts who led Custer to the Little Big Horn.
The Crow Reservation is in south central Montana, bordered by
Wyoming on the south, with its northwestern boundary about 10 miles
from Billings. About 75 percent of the Crow tribe's approximately
10,000 or more enrolled members live on or near the reservation.
Eighty-five percent speak Crow as their first language.
This tribe was called "Apsaalooke," which means "children of the
large-beaked bird." White men later misinterpreted the word as "crow."
Chief Plenty Coups was the last chief to gain that status in the
traditional Crow manner. He lived until 1932, leaving his land and
home as a park for all people.
For many years the vast coal deposits under the eastern portion of the
reservation remained untapped. One mine is now in operation and
providing royalty income and employment to tribal members. The Crow
operate only a small portion of their irrigated or dry farm acreage
and about 30 percent of their grazing land. They maintain a buffalo
herd of 300 head.
Crow The Language!
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Crow (trans., through French gens des
corbeaux, of their own name, Absároke, crow, sparrow hawk, or bird
people). A Siouan tribe forming part of the Hidatsa group, their
separation from the Hidatsa having taken place, as Matthews (1894)
believed, within the last 200 years. Hayden, following their
tradition, placed it about 1776. According to this story it was the
result of a factional dispute between two chiefs who were desperate
men and nearly equal in the number of their followers. They were then
residing on Missouri river, and one of the two bands which afterward
became the Crows withdrew and migrated to the vicinity of the Rocky
mountains, through which region they continued to rove until gathered
on reservations. Since their separation from the Hidatsa their history
has been similar to that of most tribes of the plains, one of
perpetual war with the surrounding tribes, their chief enemies being
the Siksika and the Dakota. At the time of the Lewis and Clark
expedition (1804) they dwelt chiefly on Bighorn river; Brown (1817)
located them on the Yellowstone and the east side of the Rocky
mountains; Drake (1834) on the south branch of the Yellowstone, in
lat. 46º long. 105º. Hayden (1862) wrote: "The country usually
inhabited by the Crows is in and near the Rocky mountains, along the
sources of Powder, Wind, and Bighorn rivers, on the south side of the
Yellowstone, as far as Laramie fork on the Platte river. They are also
often found on the west and north side of that river, as far as the
source of the Musselshell and as low down as the mouth of the
According to Maximilian (1843) the tipis of the Crows were exactly
like those of the Sioux, set up without any regular order, and on the
poles, instead of scalps were small pieces of colored cloth, chiefly
red, floating like streamers in the wind. The camp he visited swarmed
with wolf like dogs. They were a wandering tribe of hunters, making no
plantations except a few small patches of tobacco. They lived at that
time in some 400 tents and are said to have possessed between 9,000
and 10,000 horses. Maximilian considered them the proudest of Indians,
despising the whites; "they do not, however, kill them, but often
plunder them." In stature and dress they corresponded with the
Hidatsa, and were proud of their long hair. The women have been
described as skilful in various kinds of work, and their shirts and
dresses of bighorn leather, as well as there buffalo robes,
embroidered and ornamented with dyed porcupine quills, as particularly
handsome. The men made their weapons very well and with much taste,
especially their large bows, covered with horn of the elk or bighorn
and often with rattlesnake skin. The Crows have been described as
extremely superstitious, very dissolute, and much given to unnatural
practices; they are skilful horsemen, throwing themselves on one side
in their attacks, as is done by many Asiatic tribes. Their dead were
usually placed on stages elevated on poles in the prairie.
The population was estimated by Lewis and Clark (1804) at 350 lodges
and 3,500 individuals; in 1829 and 1834, at 4,500; Maximilian (1843)
counted 400 tipis; Hayden (1862) said there were formerly about 800
lodges or families, in 1862 reduced to 460 lodges. Their number in
1890 was 2,287; in 1904, 1,826.
The Crows have been officially classified as Mountain Crows and River
Crows, the former so called because of their custom of hunting and
roaming near the mountains away from Missouri river, the latter from
the fact that they left the mountain section about 1859 and occupied
the country along the river. There was no ethnic, linguistic, or other
difference between them. The Mountain Crows numbered 2,700 in 1871 and
the River Crows 1,400 (Pease in Ind. Aff. Rep., 420, 1871).
(Info from http://www.franksrealm.com/sivu-indians-crow.html)
Lewis (Stat. View, 1807) said they were divided into four bands,
called by themselves Ahaharopirnopa, Ehartsar, Noota, and Pareescar.
Culbertson (Smithson. Rep. 1850, 144, 1801) divides the tribe into:
(1) Crow People
(2) Minesetperi, or Sapsuckers.
These two divisions he subdivides into 12 bands, giving as the names
only the English equivalents. Morgan (Anc. Soc., 159, 1877) gives the
following bands: Achepabecha
For more information about the Crow Tribe contact the Crow
Crow Tribal Council
Crow Agency, MT 59022
406-638-3700 Fax: 406-638-3881
Tourism Office, Visitor's Center:
406-638-7272 Fax: 406-638-3157
NEW Crow Society Store