Origin: Crow Indian Nation - Apsáalooke
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The Crow, called the Apsáalooke in their own Siouan language, or variants including Absaroka, are Native Americans, who in historical times lived in the Yellowstone River valley, which extends from present-day Wyoming, through Montana and into North Dakota, where it joins the Missouri River. Today, they are enrolled in the federally recognized Crow Tribe of Montana.
Pressured by the Ojibwe and Cree peoples (the Iron Confederacy), who had earlier and better access to guns through the fur trade, they had migrated there from the Ohio Eastern Woodland area to settle south of Lake Winnipeg, Canada. From there, they were pushed to the west by the Cheyennes. Both the Crow and the Cheyennes were then pushed farther west by the Lakota (Sioux), who took over the territory from the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Big Horn Mountains of Montana; the Cheyennes finally became close allies of the Sioux, but the Crows remained bitter enemies of both Sioux and Cheyennes. The Crow were generally friendly with the whites and managed to retain a large reservation of over 9300 km2 despite territorial losses.
Since the 19th century, Crow people have been concentrated on their reservation established south of Billings, Montana. They also live in several major, mainly western, cities. Tribal headquarters are located at Crow Agency, Montana.
The early home of the Crow-Hidatsa ancestral tribe was in the Ohio country, near Lake Erie. Driven from there by better armed, aggressive neighbors, they settled for a while south of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba. Later the people moved to the Devil's Lake region of North Dakota before the Crow split from the Hidatsa and moved westward. The Crow were largely pushed westward due to intrusion and influx of the Cheyenne subsequently the Sioux.
To acquire control of their new home, they warred against Shoshone bands (called Bikkaashe-"People of the Grass Lodges"), and drove them westward. They allied with local Kiowa and Kiowa Apache bands. The Kiowa and Kiowa Apache bands later migrated southward, and the Crow remained dominant in their established area through the 18th and 19th centuries, the era of the fur trade.
Their tribal territory stretched from what is now Yellowstone National Park and the headwaters of the Yellowstone River (E-chee-dick-karsh-ah-shay-"Elk River") in the west, north to the Musselshell River, then northeast to the Yellowstone's mouth at the Missouri River, then southeast to the confluence of the Yellowstone and Powder Rivers (Bilap chashee-"Powder River" or "Ash River"), south along the South Fork of the Powder River, confined in the SE by the Rattlesnake Mountains and westwards in the SW by the Wind River Range. Their tribal area included the river valleys of the Judith River (Buluhpa'ashe-"Plum River"), Powder River, Tongue River, Big Horn River and Wind River as well as the Bighorn Mountains (Iisiaxpúatachee Isawaxaawúua), Pryor Mountains (Baahpuuo Isawaxaawúua), Wolf Mountains (Cheetiish-"Wolf Teeth Mountains") and Absaroka Range (also called Absalaga Mountains).
Once established in the Valley of the Yellowstone River and its tributaries on the Northern Plains in Montana and Wyoming, the Crow divided into four groups: the Mountain Crow, River Crow, Kicked in the Bellies and Beaver Dries its Fur. Formerly semi-nomad hunters and farmers in the northeastern woodland, they picked up the nomadic lifestyle of the Plains Indians as hunters and gatherers and hunted bison. Before 1700, they were using dog travois for carrying goods. They obtained horses from the Spanish. Read more on the Crow Indian.
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