Tipis, Hot Dance and the Nighthawk Singers at the Crow Fair In Montana

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On the plains of Montana, down the hill from the Little Bighorn National Monument, is the annual Crow Fair. Thousands of tipis are set up along the Little Bighorn River, said to be the largest gathering in the world. As well, an array of Native American singers and dancers make an appearance over the four-day event in late August.

Crow Fair, Apsaalooke People, Montana, Crow Agency

The Crow Fair was created in 1904, now the largest Northern Native American gathering, attracting nearly 45,000 spectators and participants. Crow Fair is the tipi capital of the world, over 1,500 tipis in a giant campground. This is the Crow Boys entry dance. Photo By Jack Eidt.

The Crow Fair  welcomes all Native American tribes of the Great Plains, functioning as a “giant family reunion under the Big Sky.”

Held annually the third week of August on land surrounding the Little Big Horn River near Billings, Montana, it serves as a venue for the display of the region’s arts and culture, from crafts to physical feats, with contests for best jam, butter, and household goods, and activities such as woodcutting and games, often involving cash prizes.

Here is short video clip of the Crow Night Pow Wow Grand Entry performance of the Nighthawk Singers.

The opening night is reserved for only members of the Absaroka-Crow Nation. Their tribal name (also spelled Apsáalooke), given to them by their Hidatsa neighbors, translates to “children of the large beaked bird,” misidentified as a crow. It is said to be named after a now-extinct bird resembling the magpie. They reside on the fifth largest reservation in the United States, covering approximately 2.3 million acres of land.

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As well the following link is an interview by Nico Wind of Tribal Rhythms from Wisdom of the Elders with Lewis Walks Over Ice of the Nighthawk Singers about the dances and songs to be seen at the Crow Fair.

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Planners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt