Who are the Crow Indians?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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The Crow Indians are a Native American tribe. Long ago, they called the Yellowstone River Valley, which is in Montana, their home. Today, the tribe's official home is a reservation near Billings, Montana. The Crow reservation spans more than two million acres of land. There are however, some members of the tribe who do not live on the reservation.

The Crow tribe’s true name is Apsaalooke. According to the official site of the Crow Tribe, this name means “children of the large-beaked bird.” Eventually, this Native American tribe came to be referred to as the Crow Indians by Europeans who traveled to North America to explore and settle. It is said that this name was the result of a misinterpretation of the tribe’s true name. Today, the Crow Indians use the Crow name in addition to their true name.

Interestingly, the Crow Indians are considered United States citizens and are subject to the country's laws, yet they have their own government system. For example, the Crow Indians have their own laws and policemen. The Crow people even have their own constitution, flag, and seal.

Crow leaders are referred to as tribal officers and are elected by members of the tribe. This wasn’t always the case, however. In the past, this tribe had clan leaders who would select tribal officers. The selection process usually involved considering those with the most impressive war honors.


Many people are interested in the types of homes Native Americans have, as they often remember seeing pictures of tepees in history books or during visits to museums. A tepee is a cone-shaped dwelling that was often made out of buffalo hide. Today’s Crow Indians live in modern homes and apartments, but they may still use tepees for ceremonial purposes or during travel.

Most of the Crow Indians speak English. They do, however, retain their native tongue. In fact, the vast majority of the Crow Indians use their native tongue as their primary language and consider English their second language.

One interesting fact about Crow Indian history involves the way women were treated. This Indian tribe have always treated its women as equals. In fact, a man would move in with a woman’s family after marriage, and the woman had authority within her household. She was responsible for such tasks as cooking and cleaning as well as assembling and dismantling the home when travel was necessary. Sometimes a Crow female might even become a chief; her husband was traditionally responsible for hunting as well as for fighting to defend the tribe and his family.


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