Crow Indians

From FamilySearch Wiki
Revision as of 18:39, 20 March 2010 by Jbparker (talk | contribs) (new format)

Jump to: navigation, search

Indians of Montana > Crow Indians

{{#if: Mountain Crow, River Crow|
Crow (8)prisoners under guard at Crow agency, Montana. 1887 NO.149.jpg
1909 4,635 [1]
1858 abt. 7,000 [2]
1790 abt. 9,000 [3]

Regions with significant populations
Ancestral Homelands:

Crow Reservation in Montana.


Federally recognized as Crow Tribe of Montana

Linguistic Group


Other Related Ethnic Groups

Mountain Crow, River Crow

Alternate Names and Spellings: Crow, Absaroka, Apsáalooke


The first recorded contact between the Crows and 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 of the tribe, and the Mountain Crow and River Crow tribes were formed.  This same year some Crow warriors assisted the United States military in fighting other Indian tribes.

A treaty was signed in 1851 at Fort Laramie which included the Crow Tribe, but it was the 1868 Treaty which established a reservation for the Crows in Montana.

During the 1870s 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.

The 1880 treaty specified that the  "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..."

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.,
  • 1888: ceded most of their land; removed to Crow Reservation in Big Horn and Yellowstone Counties, Montana

Additional References to the History of the Tribe

Tribal Headquarters

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



The following agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs had jurisdiction over the Crow for the time periods indicated. BIA agencies were responsible to keep such records as census rolls, allotment (land) records, annuity rolls, school records, correspondence, and other records of individual Indians under their jurisdiction. For details, see the page for the respective agency.

The agencies which had jurisdiction over a major portion of the Crow in the United States were:

Census (a specific type of record kept by the BIA Agencies)

The Bureau of Indian Affairs compiled annual Indian Census Rolls on many of the reservations from 1885 to 1940. They list the names of individuals, their age, and other details about each person enumerated. For more information about these records, click here.

The following table lists the census rolls for the Crow Indians:

Agency Location of Original Records

Post- 1885 Census
M595 RG 75
692 Rolls
Roll Number

Film Number

Crow Agency, 1891-1940  National Archives in Washington D.C. Rolls 79-86 575771-575778


There are several sets of correspondence between the supervising offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the local offices -- agencies, subagencies, etc. The correspondence is often historical in nature, including reports of the conditions among local groups of Indians, hostilities, plans for building facilities, activities of traders or missionaries, etc. Occasionally, there will be names of individuals but little detail about them. For more information about American Indian correspondence, click here.

No specific collections of correspondence relating to the Crow Indians has been located to date, although some may be embedded in the general correspondence collections of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.


During the latter part of the 18th Century and most of the 19th Century, treaties were negotiated between the federal government and individual Indian tribes. The treaties provide helpful information about the history of the tribe, but usually only include the names of those persons who signed the treaty. For more information about treaties, click here.

Treaties to which the Crow Indians were a part were:

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

Tribal Office Records

The Tribal Office is responsible for enrollment records, vital records, tribal police records, tribal court records, employment records and many others. They are an entirely different set of records from those kept by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Most of them remain in the Tribal Office. For details, contact that office at the address for the Tribal Headquarters listed above.

Vital Records

Prior to the Indian Reorganization Act, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, through their agencies, may have recorded some vital events. Some were recorded on health forms, such as the "Sanitary Record of Sick, Injured, Births, Deaths, etc." Others were recorded as supplements to the "Indian Census Rolls." Some were included in the unindexed reports and other correspondence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Some vital records for the Crow Indians include:

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

Important Web Sites


  1. Frederick Webb Hodge. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906.
  2. Frederick Webb Hodge. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906.
  3. Frederick Webb Hodge. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906.


Crow Tribe


  • 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 970.1 R259e; WorldCat 37475188; 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