Crow Indians

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Ancestral homeland:
Linguistic Group: Siouan
Living in Bighorn County in south-central Montana


The first contact with non-Indians was with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1806. The tribe was later involved with trading and interacting with mountain men during rendezvous.

In 1825 strong tribal leaders initiated a division and the Mountain Crow and River Crow tribes were formed.  This same year some Crow warriors assisted the United States military in firghting other Indian tribes.

1851 Treaty

1868 Treaty was signed, establishing a reservation in Montana.

During the 1870's and the Indian Wars for the West, the  Crow warriors served as scouts fighting against the Sioux and Nez Perce.  In the historic Battle of the Little Big Horn, General Custer had Crows serving as scouts.

1880 Treaty

Even though they had served the U.S. military, the tribe was removed to the Crow Reservation in Big Horn and Yellowstone Counties, Montana.

The population of the Crow Tribe in 1944 was estimated to be about 2,500. In 1980, the population on the reservation was 3,953. In 1990, their population was 8,491.

Brief Timeline

  • 1806: The Lewis and Clark expedition encountered the Tribe
  • 1821: The tribe interacted with mountain men during fur-trading rendezvous
  • 1825: divide into Mountain Crow and River Crow
  • 1825: joined the United States soldiers in fighting other Indian tribes
  • 1851: Treaty signed at Fort Laramie, Wyoming (38.5 million acres in Montana)
  • 1868: Treaty at Fort Laramie extablishes a reservation in Montana, south to the Yellowstone River
  • 1870: During the wars for the West the Crow were allies of the U.S. Army, serving as scouts, and fought against the Sioux and the Nez Perce.
  • 1876: Crow warriors acted as scouts for General Custer; Custer defeated at Little Bighorn in July 1876
  • 1880: Treaty at Washington D.C., " Crow Indians shall consent to permit cattle to be driven across their reservation or grazed on the same, the Secretary of the Interior shall fix the amount to be paid by parties desiring to so drive or graze cattle; all moneys arising from this source to be paid to the Indians..."
  • 1888: ceded most of their land; removed to Crow Reservation in Big Horn and Yellowstone Counties, Montana


The Crow Indians are primarily associated with the Crow Reservation in southern Montana.

Additional Reference to the History of the Tribe

Bands and Groups of the Crow Tribe

Bands: Achepabecha, Ahaharopirnopa, Ahachik, Ashinadea, Ashbochiah, Ashkanena, Booadasha, Ehartsar, Esachkabuk, Esekepkabuk, Hokarutcha, Noota Oosabotsee, Pareescar, Petchaleruhpaka, and Shiptetza


  • Mountain Crow: settled north of the Yellowstone near the Musselshell River.
  • River Crow: settled near the Big Horn, Powder and Wind Rivers.

Tribal Headquarters

Crow Tribe of Montana
P. O. Box 159
Crow Agency, MT 59022
Phone: 406.638.3708
Fax: 406.638.7301


Agencies that had responsibility for the Crow Indians include:

  • Upper Missouri
  • Fort Berthold
  • Crow Agency

Correspondence and Census

Tribe Agency Location of Original Records

Pre-1880 Correspondence M234  RG 75 Rolls 962

Roll Number


Film Number

Post-1885 Census M595  RG 75 Rolls 693

Roll Number


Film Number

Crow Upper Missouri Agency, 1824-66 Washington D.C. Rolls 883-88 - Rolls 79-86 575771-778
Crow Fort Berthold Agency, 1867-70 Washington D.C. Roll 292 - Rolls 79-86 575771-778
Crow Crow Agency, 1874-1952 Seattle - - Rolls 79-86 575771-778


  • 1825 August 4, at Mandan Village 
  • 1851 September 17, at Fort Laramie
  • 1868 May 7, at Fort Laramie 
  • 1880 May 14, at Washington - unratified 

Vital Records

  • Crow Agency,  M595, births and deaths 1925-1932, FHL Film: 575776

Important Web Sites



  • Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives; Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906 Available online.
  • Klein, Barry T., ed. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 2009. 10th ed. WorldCat 317923332; FHL book 970.1 R259e.
  • Malinowski, Sharon and Sheets, Anna, eds. The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1998. 4 volumes. Includes: Lists of Federally Recognized Tribes for U.S., Alaska, and Canada – pp. 513-529 Alphabetical Listing of Tribes, with reference to volume and page in this series Map of “Historic Locations of U.S. Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Canadian Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Mexican, Hawaiian and Caribbean Native Groups” Maps of “State and Federally Recognized U.S. Indian Reservations. WorldCat 37475188; FHL book 970.1 G131g.
Vol. 1 -- Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean
Vol. 2 -- Great Basin, Southwest, Middle America
Vol. 3 -- Arctic, Subarctic, Great Plains, Plateau
Vol. 4 -- California, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Islands
  • Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
Volume 1 -- Not yet published
Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
Volume 16 -- Not yet published
Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published