In the early 16th Century the Crow Tribe of Indians (my tribe) moved
westward out of Minnesota (a good place to be from) to the location
of where the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers merge (near the present
day ND-MT state line). The tribe was uncertain as to where they
wanted to eventually settle; so, they sent out a large party of around
a hundred young adults to explore for the perfect place for the tribe
to live. The exploration party spent eight years searching for the
perfect place. The group saw the Great Salt Lake and the Gulf of
Mexico (they even mentioned seeing alligators). They crossed the
great Plains several times and even went into Canada. Eventually they
returned to the Crow village on the lower Yellowstone river.
They informed the tribe that they had found the perfect country
to live in. That country is the current south-central part of Montana
and the extreme north-central section of Wyoming. Paradise had been
In the 1830's Crow Chief Arapooish told an Anglo fur trader why
Crow Country was so great:
"The Crow Country is a good country. The Great Spirit 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 will fare worse.
"If you go to the south, there you have to wander over great barren
plains; the water is warm and bad, and you meet the fever and ague.
To the north it is cold; the winters are long and bitter, and 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 about in canoes, and eat fish. Their teeth are worn out; they
are always taking fishbones out of their mouths. Fish is poor food.
To the east, they dwell in villages; they live well; but they drink the
muddy water of the Missouri...that is bad, A Crow's dog would not
drink such water.
"About the forks of the Missouri is a fine country; good water; good
grass; plenty of buffalo. In summer, it is almost as good as the Crow
country; but in the 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 and 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 snow banks. 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 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."
Well, with this data we have our quest settled. Now all we need is
19,500 more to move with us to the "Big Sky"...Montana. What was
true in the 1830's is still true.
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