April 3, 2017

3009 UNITED STATES (Montana) - Crow Nation

3009 A Crow man named Swallow Bird (1908)

The Crow, called the Apsáalooke (children of the large-beaked bird) in their own Siouan language, or variants including Absaroka, are Native Americans, who in historical times lived in the Yellowstone River valley, which extends from present-day Wyoming, through Montana and into North Dakota, where it joins the Missouri River. In the 21st century, they are a Federally recognized tribe known as the Crow Tribe of Montana, and have a reservation located in the south central part of the state. About 75% of the Crow tribe's approximately 10,000 or more enrolled members live on or near the reservation.

Traditionally, the Crow Nation was organized into three bands, the Mountain Crow, River Crow, and the Kick in the Bellies. The main food source for the Crow was the American bison which was hunted in a variety of ways. The traditional Crow shelter is the tipi or skin lodge made with bison hides stretched over wooden poles. At the beginning of the 20th century, they had among the largest horse herds owned by Plains Indians. Horses were acquired through raiding and trading with other Plains nations.

The Crow wore clothing distinguished by gender. Women wore dresses made of deer and buffalo skins, decorated with elk teeth or shells. They covered their legs with leggings during winter and their feet with moccasins. Crow women wore their hair in two braids. Male clothing usually consisted of a shirt, trimmed leggings with a belt, a long breechcloth, and moccasins. Robes made from the furred hide of a bison were often worn in winter.

Their hair was worn long, in some cases reaching the ground. They are famous for often wearing their hair into a pompadour which is often colored white with paint. Men were notable for wearing two hair pipes made from beads on both sides of their hair. They often wore their hair in two braids wrapped in the fur from beavers or otters. Bear grease is used to give shine to hair. Stuffed birds were often worn in the hair of warriors and medicine men.

Like other Plains Indians the Crow wear feathers from eagles, crows, owls, and other birds in their hair for symbolic reasons. They wear also a variety of headdresses including the famous eagle feather headdress, bison scalp headdress with horns and beaded rim, and split horn headdress. The split horn headdress is made from a single bison horn split in half and polished into two nearly identical horns which are attached to a leather cap and decorated with feathers and beadwork.

The Crow are well known for their intercut beadwork. They adorned basically every aspect of their lives with these beads, giving special attention to ceremonial and ornamental items. They gave reverence to the animals they ate by using as much of it as they could. They are an innovative people and are credited with developing their own style of stitch-work for adhering beads. This stitch, which is contemporarily called the over-lay, is even still also known as the "Crow Stitch".

About the stamp
The stamp is one of the two issued on March 10, 2017 to celebrate Easter, about which I wrote here.

About the postmark
It is the first day postmark of the issue Easter 2017 - 10 March 2017, about which I wrote here.

Crow Nation - Wikipedia
History & Culture - Official website of the Crow Nation

Sender: Eugen Mihai (direct swap)
Sent from Bucureşti (Bucureşti / Romania), on 10.03.2017
Photo: Edward S. Curtis / 1908

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