25 Facts: The Crow

The Crow Nation.

  1. 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.
  2. Their world was created by the tricksters, Old Man Coyote.  He gave the first people their language, prayers, ceremonies, laws, and clan system.
  3. The Crow are a matrilineal society with thirteen named clans.
  4. They are the only tribe with a Tobacco Society among the clans.
  5. Their original homeland was in Canada, but they were pushed into Montana and Wyoming by rival tribes.
  6. At first they lived in static earthen lodges.
  7. 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.
  8. Crow tipis were typically unpainted and were transported on horse-drawn travois.
  9. They hunted buffalo, elk, and deer.
  10. Crow women decorate their dresses with distinctive elk-tooth designs on the front and back.
  11. They were prohibited from interacting with others during menstruation.
  12. They rarely practiced basketry, pottery, or weaving.
  13. Braves secure a life-long spirit guide through a vision quest, where they are given their individual medicine bundle for protection.
  14. Crow members have access to the spirit world through their guardian spirits or medicine fathers.
  15. They traditionally relied on herbalists for medicinal cures, and on their medicine bundles for spiritual advice and healing.
  16. The Crow practice Sun Dances and Peyote Meetings as part of their religious system.
  17. 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.
  18. Inter-tribal conflicts and rivalries sometimes resulted in armed fighting.
  19. In the old days, the Crow were a polygamous people with a casual system of marriage and divorce.
  20. The berdache tradition (cross-gender identification) was common, but often non-sexual.  They were thought of as the two-spirit people.
  21. The Crow were enemies with the Blackfeet, Cheyenne, and Sioux Tribes.
  22. They use buffalo or sheep horns to fashion a sinew-back bow used for hunting and warfare.
  23. The Shoshone and Hidatsa were allies, and the Crow generally got on well with the whites.
  24. After the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868 they were confined to a substantial-sized reservation.
  25. 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


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