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History of the Crow Indian Reservation

Arielle Sanchez
April 17, 2020

Billings, Montana offers tons of attractions and places to visit as well as things to do. You can spend an entire day at Pictograph Cave State Park as you check out the ancient cave paintings and fun activities. Zoo Montana is one of the region's largest zoos and is also home to a botanical garden that features plants from around the world. As a visitor to Montana, you can learn some Crow Indian Reservation history too. These native people lived here long before white settlers arrived. They still live in Montana and interact with visitors every day.

Crow History

Old Photo of Crow People

The Crow people lived in Montana and near Billings for years before a single white man arrived. An early French fur trader who traveled there on a hunt interacted with some of the natives. Then he talked about his experiences with others. They gained attention during the 1850s after the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty and in the 1860s when white settlers tried to force them to move. The Fort Laramie Treaty led to the Crow agreeing to sell most of the land that they owned in the area in exchange for the new land that they would use for their reservation.

Beginning of the Crow Reservation

You might hear the Crow name associated with Yellowstone because the borders of their new reservation coincided with the boundaries of Yellowstone River. Plenty Coups became the leader of the Crow and worked with others in the 1910s to prevent the federal government from changing the borders of the reservation. They traveled to Washington, DC, with some spiritual artifacts and prayed that their ancestors would hear their words. The Crow people were upset that the government continued taking land away from them. They lost parts of their reservation in 1882, four years later, and then again near the turn of the 20th century.

Locations of the Tribe Today

Crow Indian Reservation in Montana

Crow people today now live in several locations across Montana. They live in parts of Hardin and Fort Smith and have complete control over Lodge Grass, St. Xavier, Wyola, Lodge Grass, and Crow Agency. When you stay in one of the Dude Rancher Lodge rooms, you might look out your window and see some of the reservations or members of this tribe. Looking at Crow Indian Reservation history can help you see that members of this tribe now live in Yellowstone, Treasure, and Big Horn Counties.

Where to Learn About the Crow

There are several attractions and places to visit around Billings that can help you learn more about this tribe. Little Bighorn National Monument is the best because it lets you see how the tribe came together and stopped the advance of General George Custer and his army. Chief Plenty Coups State Park and Home has a museum dedicated to the tribe and lets visitors see where the Crow Chief once lived. Learning about the Crow Indian Reservation history and the people who belonged to that tribe can help you better enjoy your trip and appreciate your time in Montana.

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