Crow, indigenous people of North America whose language belongs to the Siouan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages) and who call themselves the Absaroka, or bird people. They ranged chiefly in the area of the Yellowstone River and its tributaries and were a hunting tribe typical of the Plains cultural area. Their only crop was tobacco, which they used for pleasure and religious purposes. Until the 18th cent. the Crow lived with the Hidatsa on the upper Missouri River; after a dispute they migrated westward until they reached the Rocky Mts. The Crow developed a highly complex social system. They were enemies of the Sioux and helped the whites in the Sioux wars. Today most Crow live in Montana, near the Little Bighorn, where tourism, ranching, and mineral leases provide tribal income. In 1990 there were over 9,000 Crow in the United States.
See R. H. Lowie, The Crow Indians (1935, repr. 2004); P. Nabokov, Two Leggings: The Making of a Crow Warrior (1967); E. G. Denig, Five Indian Tribes of the Upper Missouri (1975).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: North American indigenous peoples