Crow Indians

Ghost Bear - Crow Indian

Ghost Bear - Crow Indian, 1908

The Crow Indians, once the inhabitants of the Yellowstone River Valley, currently resides on a reservation in Billings, Montana.  They traditionally spoke a sub language of the Missouri River Siouan; however today mostly speak English with the exception of ceremonial celebrations.

In the early 18th and 19th centuries and you would likely find Crow Indians living in teepees.  The teepees were traditionally made by the women of the tribe and were made from long, sturdy wooden poles and covered in animal hides, most likely buffalo. They were very large, enough to sleep more than one family in some cases, along the perimeter of the teepee.  By creating a large home, they had room for a fire in the middle of the teepee to keep them warm during cold winters.

The women of the Crow Indian tribes were dressed casually, yet neatly. They made their own clothing from the hides of the animals they killed for meat. The most common of the animals killed for meat were sheep, bison or deer. The women of the tribe usually kept their hair short while the men had hair down to at least their waist in most cases.

One unique aspect of the Crow Indians culture was that women traditionally played very important roles within their tribal community. When women got married, it was the male Crow Indians that accommodated the women and moved in with her and her family, not the other way around.  Women were treated like equals in the Crow Indian culture.  In fact, females within the Crow Indian tribe were even chiefs.  What other tribe was that a common practice?  I would bet not many.  In fact, The Crow Indians council has a woman chief for their Court of Appeals to this day.

Today, a council on their reservation in Montana controls the Crow Indians activities. Every year they put on lavish shows and festivals, all of which keep them in touch with their Native American roots.

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