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Crow Tribe Religion: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

If you were a teenage boy in the Crow tribe, you'd probably complete a vision quest. In this lesson, you'll find out what a vision quest is and why it was done. You'll also learn about other Crow religious traditions.

The Crow and the Great Plains

The Crow tribe was one of the Plains Indians tribes. The Plains Indians were Native Americans of many tribes who lived on the great plains of the United States. They were mostly hunter-gatherers, which means they hunted for food but also gathered food, such as berries or fruits. And these tribes were all nomadic, which means that they moved around a lot instead of staying in one place for long periods of time. They usually followed herds of buffalo, which were their main source of food.

A Crow Tipi
tipi

Ceremonies and Spirits

The Crow, along with many other Native American tribes, believed that all things in the world have spirits or souls. Animals, plants, rocks, rivers and everything in nature were important in their everyday lives and in their religion.

One of the most important ceremonies of the Crow was the Sun Dance, a ceremony that was also held by many other tribes. The Crow also held a ceremony that honored tobacco, which was their sacred plant.

Offering Food to Spirits
food

The Crow believed that they were created by 'Old Man Coyote.' Four ducks flew over Old Man Coyote as he was wandering in the world that was cold and wet. He asked them to dive under the water to bring him some earth; each of them tried, but only the fourth one was successful. Old Man Coyote took that little bit of earth and made it into everything in the world, including mountains, land, rivers, plants and animals. He then used a tiny piece of earth to create the first Crow man and woman.

The Vision Quest

One of the most important rituals of the Crow tribe was the vision quest.

The teenage boys in the tribe would go through it in the hopes of getting a spirit guardian to help them through their lives.

It was a very difficult process, and included several steps. The boy would go into a sweat lodge, which was a special place that was made very hot by inside fires. They wanted him to sweat so that he would become more pure. After this, the Crow would burn a special root that was supposed to make the boy lose his 'human' smell. They were afraid that if he smelled like a human, the spirits wouldn't come to him.

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