Crow Indians

Crow Indians. A translation, through the French gens des corbeaux, of their own name:

  • Absároke, “crow-, sparrowhawk-, or bird-people.” Also called:
  • Handeruka, Mandan name.
  • Haideroka, Hidatsa name.
  • Hounena, Arapaho name, signifying “crow men.”
  • Issl£ppo’, Siksika name.
  • Kangitoka, Yankton Dakota name.
  • Ka’-xi, Winnebago name.
  • Kihnatsa, Hidatsa name, signifying “they who refused the paunch,” and referring
  • to the tradition regarding the separation of these two tribes.
  • Kokokiwak, Fox name.
  • Long-haired Indians, by Sanford (1819).
  • O-e’-tun’-i-o, Cheyenne name, signifying “crow people.”
  • Par-is-ca-oh-pan-ga, Hidatsa name, signifying “crow people” (Long, 1823).
  • Stemchi, Kalispel name.
  • StBmtchi, Salish name.
  • Stimk, Okinagan name.
  • Yaxka’-a, Wyandot name, signifying “crow.”

Crow Connections. The Crow belonged to the Siouan linguistic stock and were most closely related to the Hidatsa, from whom they claim to have separated.

Crow Location. On the Yellowstone River and its branches, extending as far north as the Musselshell and as far south as Laramie Fork on the Platte, but centering particularly on three southern tributaries of Yellowstone River, the Powder, Wind, and Big Horn Rivers. (See also Wyoming)

Crow Subdivisions. There were formerly three local divisions, known to the people themselves as Minë’së?pere, Dung-on-the-river-banks?, or Black Lodges; the A`c’araho-‘, Many-Lodges; and the Erarapi-‘o, Kicked-in-their-bellies. The first of these is called River Crow by some writers and the last two collectively Mountain Crow. They were also divided into 12 clans arranged in pairs.

Crow History. As stated above, the Crow tribe claims to have separated from the Hidatsa, a tradition shared by the Hidatsa. It is at least certain that the two are more closely related linguistically than is either to any other Siouan group. Their separation into bands must have occurred in the first quarter of the nineteenth century at latest. In 1804 they were found in their historic seats and have been in approximately the same region ever since, the reservation to which they were finally assigned being on the Big Horn River.

Crow Population. Mooney’s (1928) estimate for the year 1780 is 4,000 Crow. In 1804 Lewis and Clark estimated 350 lodges and 3,500 souls. In 1833 there were said to be 1,200 warriors and a population of from 3,250 to 3,560. In 1890 a total population of 2,287 was reported, and in 1904, 1,826. The census of 1910 gave 1,799, and the United States Indian Office Report for 1923, 1,777. The census of 1930, reported 1,674, and the Indian Office Report for 1937, 2,173.

Connections in which the Crow have become noted. The Crow tribe was prominent in the early history of the Northwest, though not to the extent of the Dakota and Blackfeet. The Indian form of the name, Absarokee, is borne by a post village of Stillwater County, Mont.; in the form Absaraka it appears as the name of a place in Cass County, N. Dak.; and as Absaroka, more prominently, as the name of a range of mountains and a National Forest in the Yellowstone National Park.

Crow, Siouan,

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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