The Crow Nation.
- The word Crow comes from the people’s description of themselves — Apsaalooke or Absaroka — meaning Children of the Large-beaked Bird, which was widely interpreted as The Crow.
- Their world was created by the tricksters, Old Man Coyote. He gave the first people their language, prayers, ceremonies, laws, and clan system.
- The Crow are a matrilineal society with thirteen named clans.
- They are the only tribe with a Tobacco Society among the clans.
- Their original homeland was in Canada, but they were pushed into Montana and Wyoming by rival tribes.
- At first they lived in static earthen lodges.
- Their traditional farming lifestyle changed radically when they acquired horses in the early Eighteenth Century. Thereafter, they became nomadic buffalo hunters who adopted the four-pole tipi.
- Crow tipis were typically unpainted and were transported on horse-drawn travois.
- They hunted buffalo, elk, and deer.
- Crow women decorate their dresses with distinctive elk-tooth designs on the front and back.
- They were prohibited from interacting with others during menstruation.
- They rarely practiced basketry, pottery, or weaving.
- Braves secure a life-long spirit guide through a vision quest, where they are given their individual medicine bundle for protection.
- Crow members have access to the spirit world through their guardian spirits or medicine fathers.
- They traditionally relied on herbalists for medicinal cures, and on their medicine bundles for spiritual advice and healing.
- The Crow practice Sun Dances and Peyote Meetings as part of their religious system.
- A chief was expected to perform a series of coups – touching an enemy in combat, stealing a horse, taking an enemy’s weapon, and leading a war raid.
- Inter-tribal conflicts and rivalries sometimes resulted in armed fighting.
- In the old days, the Crow were a polygamous people with a casual system of marriage and divorce.
- The berdache tradition (cross-gender identification) was common, but often non-sexual. They were thought of as the two-spirit people.
- The Crow were enemies with the Blackfeet, Cheyenne, and Sioux Tribes.
- They use buffalo or sheep horns to fashion a sinew-back bow used for hunting and warfare.
- The Shoshone and Hidatsa were allies, and the Crow generally got on well with the whites.
- After the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868 they were confined to a substantial-sized reservation.
- In modern times, the Crows have been heavily influenced by Catholicism.
Encyclopedia.com, “Crow,” at http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/united-states-and-canada/north-american-indigenous-peoples/crow-people
Wikipedia, “Crow Nation,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crow_Nation