Fools Crow

Fools Crow

Fools Crow

Fools Crow


Fools Crow is based on interviews conducted in the 1970s. The holy man tells Thomas E. Mails about his eventful life, from early reservation days when the Sioux were learning to farm, to later times when alcoholism, the cash economy, and World War II were fast eroding the old customs. He describes this vision quests and his becoming a medicine man.


In July of 1974, I went to the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, located in southern South Dakota, and to the town of Rosebud to see a Sun Dance. While I was there I contributed some of the food for the meals, and as a result, one night, at a powwow at the town of Mission, I was given an honor dance and the Sioux name "Waokiye," which means "One Who Helps." After the dance, Charles Ross, the superintendent of schools at the Lower Brule Reservation in eastern South Dakota, told me that his people were having their first trade fair in eighty years. He added that they were building a ceremonial dance ground and were badly in need of sod to cover it. "Might you," he asked, "be able to purchase the sod for them?"

As it turned out I could and did, which led to another request from Charles, this time that I come to the trade fair for the dedication of the ceremonial ground. and so it was that in early August I drove from California to my home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and then on August 8, left there and headed for the lower Brule Reservation.

August 8, 1974, was not by any means an ordinary day, for it was the announcement date of the resignation from office of President Richard M. Nixon. Before I reached Las Vegas, New Mexico, every radio program was preoccupied with the news, and with endless speculations as to what it portended.

As I passed the little town of Raton, left New Mexico, and began the sharp ascent into Colorado's impressive mountains, slate gray clouds closed in overhead. Within moments it started to rain so heavily that individual drops burst like water-filled plastic bags against the windshield. the evergreen boughs were sodden and drooping, the highway glistened with reflections, and the streams that paralleled the highway were soon . . .

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