January 30, 2002

Crow Tribe Reservation

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Over 10,000 tribal members are enrolled in the Crow Tribe and many live on the 2.5 million acres that make up the Crow Indian Reservation. This huge reservation, approximately 60 miles wide and 40 miles long, lies in south central Montana.

Crow Reservation

Crow Reservation

The annual Crow Fair, one of the largest pow wows held in the United States, takes place at Crow Agency every August.

Crow Fair Tipi Encampment, with over 1,000 tipis. The circle in the middle is the dance arbor.

Crow Fair Tipi Encampment, with over 1,000 tipis. The circle in the middle is the dance arbor.

Crow Agency is also near the popular tourist site of the Battle of the Big Horn National Monument. Each year they produce an excellent re-enactment of the battle.

CROW TRIBAL GOVERNMENT:

The United States Government as defined by the United States Constitution has governmental relationships with International, Tribal, and State entities. The Tribal nations have a government-to-government relationship with the United States.

The Crow Tribe signed treaties in the 1825, 1851, and1868 with the United States which are the legal documents defining our relationship with the United States that established our boundaries and recognized our rights as a sovereign government.

The Crow Reservation was established by the Treaty of 1851. The Tribal government maintain jurisdiction within the boundaries of the reservation including all rights-of-way, waterways, watercourses and streams running through any part of the reservation and to such others lands as may hereafter be added to the reservation under the laws of the United States. The Tribal government operates under a constitution approved on June 24, 1948 by the Tribal membership. Under this constitution the tribve has a general council form of government in which every adult enrolled member is allowed to vote if he is present during the meeting of the General Council.

One hundred or more adults constitutes a quorum of the general council. This Council has the authority to represent, act and speak for the Tribe and its members. General Council meetings are held on a quarterly basis or more if Tribal business is pressing.

The administration of Tribal government is conducted by the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and the Vice-Secretary. All Tribal members are the Council Members. The Tribal Council Chairman is the administrative head of the Tribe and serves a two year term as do each of the officers, all of whom are elected at large.

Tribal/Agency
Headquarters:
Crow Agency
Counties: Big Horn and Yellowstone
Federal Reservation: Yes
Tribal membership: 10,030
Reservation Service
Population:
6,498
Labor Force: Not available
Unemployment rates: 85%
Language: Crow and English

 

Land
Status:
Acres
Total Area: 2,266,271
Tribal
Owned:
533,956
Allotted
Owned:
1,039,594
Total
Tribal/Allotted Owned:
1,573,550
Non-Indian
Owned:
Not available

 

LAND:

Little Bighorn River, Crow Reservation

Little Bighorn River, Crow Reservation

The Crow Service Unit is located in south central Montana, and is comprised of Big Horn (part), Carbon, Treasure, and Yellowstone counties in Montana and Big Horn and Sheridan counties in Wyoming. The Crow Reservation’s eastern boundary is adjacent to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. The reservation is approximately 60 miles wide and 40 miles in length, encompassing 1,574,394 acres. For FY 1996 the IHS Official Population for the Crow Service Unit consists of 10,603 Indian people. The FY 1995 “User Population” is 10,254 Indian people. The majority (98 percent) of the Indian people reside in Big Hom and Yellowstone counties in Montana.

Mountains, residual uplands, and alluvial bottoms make up the topography of the Crow Reservation. The 3 principle mountain areas are the Wolf Mountains to the east and the Big Horn and Pryor Mountains to the south. Sloping downward to the north from the mountains are rolling upland plains.

The plains constitute the bulk of the reservation and vary in altitude from 3,000 to 4,500 feet. The alluvial bottomiands are located along the Big Hom River, Little Big Hom River, and Pryor Creek drainage systems.

The principal communities located on the Crow Reservation are as follows:

The Crow/Northem Cheyenne Hospital, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Crow Tribal Government are located here. Approximately 3,245 Indian people reside here. A 16-bed hospital is located in Hardin, Montana, approximately 12 miles from Crow Agency. Two 250+ bed facilities located in Billings, Montana are 65 miles from Crow Agency. Billings is considered the major medical referral center for east central Montana and northern Wyoming.

LODGE GRASS

The Lodge Grass Health Center is located here and is approximately 22 miles south of Crow Agency. Approximately 2,125 Indian people reside here.

PRYOR

The Pryor Health Station is located here and is approximately 69 miles northwest of Crow Agency. Approximately 1,018 Indian people reside here.

WYOLA

This community is located approximately 13 miles from Lodge Grass and approximately 35 miles from Crow Agency. Approximately 440 Indian people reside here.

CLIMATE:

This part of Montana has a moderate climate considering its latitude. Snow seldom accumulates for extended periods of time because of the warm Chinook winds which blow from the mountains in the west. This portion of Montana enjoys “Indian Summers” which frequently extend into November. This is a time of warm sunny days and cool evenings. The mean annual temperature is 45.5oF with a summer high of 110oF
and a winter low of -48oF. The bulk of the reservation varies from 12 to 18 inches annual precipitation, depending on the elevation.

ECONOMY:

The basis of the economy and income is the
reservations land which is used directly to support livestock operations. The Tribe owns vast and varied amounts of renewable and non-renewable resources on the reservation which include land, sand and gravel, water and timber, coal, oil and gas. These resources serve as the basis for revenue for the Tribe largely under lease agreements.

Over 10,000 tribal members are enrolled and many live on the 2.5 million acres that make up the Crow Indian Reservation. This huge reservation, approximately 60 miles wide and 40 miles long, lies in south central Montana.

Members of the Tribe are employed in various occupations. Ranching and farming, government services, coal mining, and tourism create jobs for many of the people.

Lodge Grass, Pryor and Crow Agency have limited services and shopping, although the staples can be attained there. A short drive of 15 minutes north of Crow Agency takes one to the off-reservation town of Hardin where larger shopping needs can be met. A short distance further, approximately an hour’s drive from Crow Agency takes you to Billings, the largest city in Montana. Billings offers much in the areas of arts, entertainment and shopping.

RECREATION:

The annual Crow Fair, one of the largest powwows held in the United States, takes place at Crow Agency every August. There is lively competition dancing, drumming and singing, as well as food and craft concessions. Crow Agency is also near the popular tourist site of the Battle of the Big Horn National Monument. Each year they produce an excellent re-enactment of the battle.

Yellowtail Dam at Big Horn Canyon provides some of the finest fishing, water sports and camping in the state of Montana.

EDUCATION:

Located on the reservation are eight elementary schools, three high schools and the Little Big Horn Community College. Also available are public schools in both Billings and Hardin. Montana State University – Billings, Rocky Mountain College, MSU College of Technology at Billings, and two technical colleges as well as two beautician schools are all located in Billings. The opportunities are endless for those desiring to further their education.

HOUSING:

The Crow Housing Authority manages housing units in the district communities and on rural scattered sites through HUD Low rnt and Mutual Help home ownership housing programs. Crow Agency is the headquarters of the tribal government, the Indian Health Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

Government housing is available there for the Indian Health Service professional, as well as in Lodge Grass. For those wishing private housing, both Hardin and Billings offer homes in quite a wide price range to suit individual needs.

FUTURE:

The Tribe has identified alternative sources of income that can be defeloped to generate revenue ihn a very short time, in the following areas:
1 Agriculture
2 Energy
3Tourism and Recreation
4 Commercial Institutions.

Agriculture is the most important commercial activity on the reservation. The amoutn and quality of the land and water resources would favor increased agricultural production.

In 1996, Tribal environmental staff identified surface water contamination from an upstream wastewater treatment plant and septic systems are contaminating surface water used as a drinking water source and as a water source for sweat lodges as the major reservation environmental problem which may be hazardous to the health of reservation residents.

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