Crow Tribe Elder, Historian Joe Medicine Crow, Dead at 102

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Receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 / AP


From AP writer Steven K. Paulson / 04.03.2016

Joseph Medicine Crow, an acclaimed Native American historian and last surviving war chief of Montana’s Crow Tribe, has died. He was 102.

Medicine Crow died Sunday, Bullis Mortuary funeral home director Terry Bullis said. Services will be announced Monday, he said.

A member of the Crow Tribe’s Whistling Water clan, Medicine Crow was raised by his grandparents in a log house in a rural area of the Crow Reservation near Lodge Grass, Montana.

His Crow name was “High Bird,” and he recalled listening as a child to stories about the Battle of Little Bighorn from those who were there, including his grandmother’s brother, White Man Runs Him, a scout for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.

His grandfather, Yellowtail, raised Medicine Crow to be a warrior. The training began when Medicine Crow was just 6 or 7, with a punishing physical regimen that included running barefoot in the snow to toughen the boy’s feet and spirit.

Medicine Crow in 1939 became the first of his tribe to receive a master’s degree, in anthropology. He served for decades as a Crow historian, cataloging his people’s nomadic history by collecting firsthand accounts of pre-reservation life from fellow tribal members.

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