Crow Country

Crow Indians at Crow Fair

Crow Indians at Crow Fair (photo by Rick and Susie Graetz)

The Crow country is a good country. The Great Spirit has put it exactly in the right place; while you are in it you fare well; whenever you go out of it, whichever way you travel, you fare worse. If you go to the south, you have to wander over great barren plains; the water is warm and bad and you meet with fever and ague. To the north it is cold; the winters are long and bitter and there is no grass; you cannot keep horses there but must travel with dogs. What is a country without horses? On the Columbia they are poor and dirty, paddle fish is poor food.  To the east they dwell in villages; they live well, but they drink the muddy waters of the country; good water, good grass, plenty of buffalo. In summer it is almost as good as Crow country, but in winter it is cold; the grass is gone and there is no salt weed for the horses.

The Crow country is exactly in the right place. It has snowy mountains and sunny plains, all kinds of climates are good things for every season. When the summer heats scorch the prairies, you can draw up under the mountains, where the air is sweet and cool, the grass fresh, and the bright streams come tumbling out of the snowbanks. There you can hunt elk, the deer and the antelope when their skins are fit for dressing; there you will find plenty of white bears [grizzlies] and mountain sheep. In the autumn when your horses are fat and strong from the mountain pastures you can go down into the plains and hunt the buffalo, or trap beaver on the streams. And when winter comes on, you can take shelter in the woody bottoms along the rivers; there you will find buffalo meat for yourselves and cottonwood bark for your horses, or you may winter in the Wind River Valley, where there is salt weed in abundance. The Crow country is exactly in the right place. Everything good is to be found there. There is no country like the Crow country.

From Contributions to the Historical Society of Montana. Used with permission of the Montana Historical Society | Arapooshe, Chief of the Crows