51 Stunning Vintage Photos Of The Crow Tribe during the Early 20th Century

The Crow, called the Apsáalooke in their own Siouan language, or variants including the 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. In the 21st century, the Crow people are a Federally recognized tribe known as the Crow Tribe of Montana, and have a reservation located in the south central part of the state.

Pressured by the Ojibwe and Cree peoples (the Iron Confederacy), who had earlier and better access to guns through the fur trade, the Crow had migrated to this area from the Ohio Eastern Woodland area of present-day Ohio, settling south of Lake Winnipeg. From there, they were pushed to the west by the Cheyenne. Both the Crow and the Cheyenne were pushed farther west by the Lakota (Sioux), who took over the territory west of the Missouri River, reaching past the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming and Montana. The Cheyenne eventually became allies of the Lakota, as they sought to expel European Americans from the area. The Crow remained bitter enemies of both the Sioux and Cheyenne. The Crow managed to retain a large reservation of more than 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.

A member of the Crow tribe known only as “Wolf.” Montana. 1910.
Men on the Crow Reservation gather around the fire. Montana. 1910.
A Crow warrior named Horse Goes Ahead. Montana. 1910.
A young Crow boy puts on his father’s headdress. Montana. 1907.
A mother holds her baby in her arms. Montana. 1910.
A man living on the Crow Reservation smokes a cigarette as he poses for his portrait. Montana. 1910.
A Crow rider’s silhouette against the horizon. Montana. 1910.
An old Crow warrior, Strikes One With A Lance, poses for a portrait.Montana. 1910.
Crow men hurtle arrows. Montana. 1910.
A member of the Crow tribe stands with his headdress upon his head. Montana. 1910.
Crow warriors cross a fjord on horseback. Montana. 1910.
The Crow reservation under a darkening sky. Montana. 1910.
A family gathers in a hut to eat. Montana. 1910.
The warriors of the Crow tribe ride off, headdresses upon their heads. Montana. 1910.
Four horsemen of the Crow tribe ride forward. Montana. 1910.
Four men wearing nothing but their breechcloths get ready to race. Montana. 1910.
The tribe gathers together for the tobacco planting dance. Montana. 1910.
Hairy Moccasin, one of the scouts who served General Custer during his last stand.
When it became clear that the battle would be lost, Hairy Moccasin put on the clothing of a Crow warrior, wanting to die a Crow. Montana. 1910.
A woman bakes pottery over the fire. Montana. 1903.
A mother of the Crow tribe. Montana. 1910.
A man goes to work building his tepee, setting up a campsite at the reservation. Montana. 1910.
The tribe works together to build a massive tent for a ceremony. Montana. 1910.
The tribe, waving an American flag above them, ride through the camp in honor of a woman named Spotted Rabbit. Montana. 1910.
Crow warriors ride over the hills. Montana. 1910.
White Man Runs Him, a Crow scout who helped lead General Custer into the Battle of Little Bighorn. Montana. 1905.
Mitch Boyer, a Crow scout who helped lead General Custer into the Battle of Little Bighorn and died there with him.
The Crow Reservation, seen from across the water. Montana. 1910.
Ashishishe, better known as Curly, was one of the only survivors of the Battle of Little Bighorn. Montana. 1910.
A man cleans himself in the water by the reservation. Montana. 1910.
The warriors pause to let their horses drink from the river. Montana. 1910.
A Crow woman called Carries the War Staff. Montana. 1910.
A proud father, standing before his tepee, holds his newborn child. Montana. 1910.
A young girl and her puppy. Montana. 1910.
A gathering of members of the Crow tribe inside a tent. Montana. 1910.
A young girl draped in jewelry. Montana. 1905.
Crow riders travel through the fields and past the reservation. Montana. 1910.
The riders survey their home. Montana. 1910.
Musicians and dancers line up and get ready for the tobacco planting ceremony. Montana. 1910.
Two riders on the reservation. Montana. 1910.
White Man Runs Him dons an elaborate headdress full of white feathers.
Montana. 1910.
The members of the Crow tribe pause for a rest during a ceremonial dance.
Montana. 1910.
A young girl named Little Iron Horse shoots the defiant stare that may have earned her the name. Montana. 1905.
The reservation is covered in a thick layer of snow, here called “The White Death.” Montana. 1910.
A Crow family grave. Montana. 1905.
An old Crow man in his headdress. Montana. 1910.
A new log cabin is built on the reservation. The new, European-style home stands next to the traditional tepee of the tribe, marking the start of a major change in the Crow style of life. Montana. 1910.
A young Crow woman called Takes A Horse. Montana. 1910.
A Crow family, now living in an American settler-style home, sits down for dinner. Montana. 1910.
The children of the Crow tribe take classes in an American reservation school. Montana. 1910.
George No Horse and Pipe-Tomahawk stand in front of a settler-style home, looking at the reservation as their world changes around them. Montana. 1910.
Chief Plenty Coups, Chief of the Mountain Crow Band, called the “last great chief” of the Crow tribe. Montana. 1910.

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