March 18, 2014

Absaroka (Crow) Timeline

The Crow (ABSAROKE OR ABSALOOKE)  were sedentary hunter/farmers until they separated from the Hidatsa in two groups about A.D. 1400 and 1600.  Upon separation, they became nomadic hunter/gatherers of the northern Plains.  In historic times, they ranged from the valley of the Yellowstone in southern Montana south as far as the Laramie fork of the Platte in Wyoming.  They were constantly in conflict with most of their neighbors and severely outnumbered. Here is a timeline of important events in their history.
They allied with the United States against their mutual enemies, but were never recognized for their sacrafices.

The Mountain Crow were in southern Montana and northern Wyoming, while the River Crow lived among the Hidatsa in North Dakota. Today, they live on the Crow Reservation, whose tribal offices are in Crow Agency, Montana.

Year History
1400 Oral tradition:  The ancestral tribe of the Crow and the Hidatsa were living the “Land of Forests and many lakes”  ( The present upper Great Lakes of Canada and the United States)
1450 Oral tradition:  Two leaders of this group, No Intestines and Red Scout, fasted at Holy lake (present day Devils Lake, North Dakota),  Red Scout received a vision indicating that his people would survive through the spiritual graces of Sacred Tobacco.  Red Scout and his people settled on the Missouri and learned horticulture from the Mandan, eventually becoming the contemporary Hidatsa’s.  No Intestines and his followers traveled on an extensive migration in search of the Sacred Tobacco.  The trek eventually led them to their historic homeland, present-day southeastern Montana and northern Wyoming.  This group became known as the Ashalahó/Many Lodges or the historic Mountain Crow
1490 Oral tradition:  The Mountain Crow were firmly established in their homeland, displacing the Shoshones and allying themselves with the resident Kiowa’s
1600 Oral tradition:  The next band of the Crow developed out of a separation from the Hidatsa.  Sometime after No Intestines group had become established on the Plains and argument arose between two factions in the Hidatsa villages on the Missouri River.  The quarrel was over the distribution of a drowned buffalo, the wife of the leader Bad Heart Bear felt that she had not received enough of the tripe.  The ensuing dispute led to a permanent separation when the followers of Bad Heart Bear joined the Ashalahó Apsáalooke on the Plains.  This group became known as the Binnéassiippeele/Those Who Live Amongst The River Banks, or the historic River Crow.
1700 Oral tradition:  The Apsáalooke acquired their first horses from a Shoshone camp near the Great Salt Lake.
1743 A group of Apsáalooke camped at the confluence of the Bighorn and Little Bighorn Rivers meet with the La Vérendrye Brothers, French-Canadian traders, most likely the first encounter between the Apsáalooke and the Europeans
1805 Lewis and Clark Expedition travels across Apsáalooke territory
1805 On their return trip in 1806, the horses meant for Clark, being held by his sergeant, Nathaniel Pryor, are taken by Crow warriors 
1824 Beginning of mountain man fur trade era
1825 The first treaty between the Crow and the United States is signed by Crow leader Long Hair and Major O’Fallon of the United States.  The other prominent Crow leader Rotten Belly refused to sign
1830 Female warrior Pine Leaf killed four Blackfeet at Fort Union and was named Woman Chief by Rotten Belly
1833 Killed more than 200 Cheyenne in revenge battle; contracted smallpox from a wagon train
1840 The Crow were afflicted smallpox epidemic, end of mountain man fur trade era
1846 Attacked and virtually destroyed the Small Robes band of Piegan Blackfeet under Chief Rotten Belly
1848 Caught smallpox from Northern Shoshoni tribe
1849 Lost 600 to influenza
1851 The Crow participated in the first Ft. Laramie Treaty signed by Chief Big Robber which stated that the Crow controlled over 33 million acres of land in present-day Montana and Wyoming, caught smallpox from Northern Shoshoni
1853 Indian agent estimated that Crow owned 20 horses per adult male
1856 Woman Chief killed by Gros Ventre
1864 The outnumbered Crow successfully defended themselves against the combined forces of the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho on East Pryor Creek north of present-day Pryor, Montana, the largest and most dramatic battle to protect eastern Crow lands from the Lakota invasion of the 1860’s
1865 The Crow assisted the United States military in protecting travelers on the Bozeman Trail, three forts were established in Crow territory.
1866 Chief Big Robber killed in duel with Northern Shoshoni Chief Washakie in Battle of Crowheart Butte
1868 The Crow participated in the second Ft. Laramie Treaty, and their land holdings were reduced to 8 million acres in present-day Montana
1869 The first government agency is established for the Crow on Hide Scraper Creek (present-day Mission Creek, Montana)
1872 Crow land holdings were reduced again and the government agency is moved to present-day Absarokee, Montana
1876 The Crow continued to support the United States military by supplying the scouts to the columns of the Centennial Campaign
1877 The Crow repelled constant attacks against the invading Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho, with and without the assistance of the United States military, even pursuing the fleeing Lakota’s into Canada
1882 The Crow agreed to another land cession and the government agency is moved to its present site at Crow Agency, Montana
1887 Aided Nez Perce in flight to Canada
1950 Water rights to Yellowtail Dam lost by tribe
1983 Crows win inherent sovereignty case in Supreme Court
Tribal Timelines
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