In traditional Crow culture, warlike endeavors were key to becoming a chief and leader. Four acts of bravery and display were considered prerequisites for leadership; their achievement reflected divine guidance and grace. First, one had to be the first to strike or touch the enemy in battle. There could be only one first striker in a battle, and the race to attain that honor created the fury of the attack on the enemy.
Apsáalooke Crow Chiefs, Leaders, and Medicine Men
No Vitals or No Intestines (Shíipdeetash) – His vision of the sacred Tobacco seed led to a migration from Spirit (Devils) Lake to Crow Country.
Red Scout (Chíitdeehisshish) – Brother of No Vitals. Based on his vision of corn seed, his band settled on the Missouri River to become the Hidatsa.
One Eye (Ishtúwatash) or Raven Face (Iispeelatchísh) –
Paints His Shirt Red (Axúachisshish) –
Red Fish (Búahisshish) – During the time of this leader, the Apsáalooke came to have a ready supply of obsidian. Undoubtedly, this meant the Crow people gained control the obsidian mines in present-day Yellowstone Park during this period.
Running Coyote (Búattaaxalusshish) Through instructions received in a vision, this leader developed the buffalo jump for procuring meat.
One Heart (Daasáwatash) – Under this chief, the population of the Crow people had grown and was prosperous. This Crow leader was killed by One Eye for murdering his brother.
White Moccasin Top (Isahpíishchoosish) –
Whose Heart Is Never Good (Daxpitchée DaasítchileetashBear ) – Following a dispute over the distribution of a buffalo paunch, this leader separated his group from the Hidatsa and joined the Many Lodges (Ashalahó) in Crow Country. His followers became the historic River Crow band.
Young White Buffalo (Chíilapkalishtachiash) – During the time of this leader, the Crow obtained their first steel knives from the Hidatsa. This Crow leader was also the first to bring horses to the Apsáalooke people.
Plays With His Face (Iisaakiiwaanníash) – A fearless leader who once escaped certain death at the hands of the enemy by jumping off a cliff, and using his buffalo robe like a parachute.
Red Plume [Feather At The Temple] (Itchuuwaaóoshbishish), was born ca. 1750, died in 1836. – A Mountain Crow leader during fur trading days and a signer of the 1825 Friendship Treaty. Traders and trappers called him Long Hair because of his extraordinarily long hair, approximately 25 feet long. At his death, his hair was cut off and maintained by tribal leaders. The long lock of hair is now curated by the Chief Plenty Coups State Park at Pryor, Montana.
Sore Belly or Rotten Belly (Eelápuash,1795-1834) – A River Crow leader, a contemporary of Red Plume. He refused to sign the 1825 Friendship Treaty. In The Middle Of The Land (Awé KúalawaachishSits ), also known as Blood Woman (Káamneewiash)and Blackfoot (Iché Shipíte), lived from 1795-1877). He was the principal Crow Chief in the mid-1800’s. He used the metaphor of the four base tipi poles to describe the borders of Crow Country.
Red Bear (Daxpitcheehísshish) was born around 1807 and lived into the 1860s. A noted Mountain Crow chief and warrior during the 1840’s and 1850s. Twines His (Horse’s) Tail or Rotten Tail (Chíischipaaliash) was born about 1800 and lived to 1867. He was leader of the River Crow band during the 1840’s and head chief of the Crow Tribe during the 1850’s and 1860’s. Rotten Tail was an outstanding medicine man and war party commander (pipe carrier). White Temple (Itchúua Chíash), also known as Iron Bull (Uuwatchiilapish) lived ca. 1820-1886. He was an important warrior and second ranking chief to Sits In The Middle Of The Land. Pretty Eagle (Déaxitchish) was born in 1846 and died in 1905. He was a reservation-era leader who was recognized by 1890, along with Plenty Coups, as head chief of the Crow Tribe. Plenty Coups or Many War Achievements(Alaxchiiaahush), also known as Buffalo Bull Facing The Wind (Chíilaphuchissaaleesh) lived from 1848 to 1932. He was a Mountain Crow leader, visionary, diplomat, and recognized as the last principal chief of the Crow Tribe. When he died, his land was donated to make Chief Plenty Coups State Park. Two Leggings (Issaatxalúash), also known as Big [Whooping] Crane (Apitisée) was born in the mid-1840’s and died in 1923. He was a prominent River Crow chief, war leader, and reservation-era chief. Medicine Crow (PédhitšhÎ-wahpášh) or Raven (Peelatchiwaaxpáash) – A prominent Kicked In The Belly chief, war leader, and reservation-era chief.
1900s to present
Joseph Medicine Crow (PédhitšhÎ-wahpášh) , also known as High Bird, () was born October 27, 1913. He is the current Crow tribal historian and official anthropologist for the tribe, and a noted author. His books have included Crow Migration Story, Medicine Crow, the Handbook of Crow Indian Laws and Treaties , Crow Indian Buffalo Jump Techniques, Counting Coup: Becoming a Crow Chief on the Reservation and Beyond, and From the Heart of the Crow Country: The Crow Indians’ Own Stories. He also authored a children’s book entitled Brave Wolf and the Thunderbird: Tales of the People. His book Counting Coup: Becoming a Crow Chief on the Reservation and Beyond, written about his life, was chosen by the National Council for the Social Studies as a “Notable Tradebook for Young People” in 2007. Joseph Medicine Crow is the last member of the Crow tribe to become a war chief. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, and the Légion d’honneur. On July 17, 2008, Senators Max Baucus, Jon Tester, and Mike Enzi introduced a bill to award him the Congressional Gold Medal. Joseph Medicine Crow received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the U.S.A.’s highest civilian honor) from President Barack Obama on August 12, 2009.
Crow Tribe of Montana
19 Crow Tribal Songs
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