XVII World-View

THE Crow universe was narrowly bounded. To the north and east flowed the "Great River" on which their kin, the Hidatsa, lived with their fellow-agriculturists, the Mandan and Arikara. But that far to the south there were Indians planting corn to the practical exclusion of hunting, people who dwelt in stone houses, made painted pottery, wove cotton fabrics, and, among many strange calendric festivals, also danced with snakes in their mouths, -- that was something wholly beyond the Crow ken. In 1916 I once sketched to a few elderly Lodge Grass men what I had seen among the Hopi; they listened with interest but without the slightest sense of kinship with these weird folk: I might have been telling of a trip to the moon. Nor did any Crow divine that on the coast of British Columbia there were members of their race who traveled in forty-foot canoes, built solid wooden houses, and recognized sharply separated social castes. Crow geography was of the Northern Plains, sweeping within their ethnographic horizon only a few marginal parasites like the "Pierced Noses" (Nez Percé) and "Bad Lodges" (Shoshone).

Within the radius, then, of a few hundred miles the gunless, horseless Crow of pre-Caucasian days sought to preserve his existence. It was a sorry kind of life. "Savages," says Dr. Marett, "live at but one remove from death." The ancient tales are charged with that theme: "In the early days the Crow were moving camp, they were roaming about seeking food." And Old Man Coyote is forever pictured going about, racked with hunger, "looking for food." But to seek and to find were not the same. Again and again a band was reduced to rabbit fare and threatened with starvation when big game capriciously stayed away. But even at best foraging was no light task. Individual hunters were gored by buffalo; the tribal hunt failed unless there was perfect coöperation; women on a berrying-bee were surprised by bears or abducted by enemies; even a fair-sized party of men were liable to find themselves surrounded by a superior force of Cheyenne or Dakota.

-327-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Crow Indians
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 350

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?