Chief Plenty Coups Day of Honor featured dancing, drumming and stories

Outlook managing editor
Outlook photo by Kathleen Gilluly. Crow Indian dancers were part of the all veterans color guard at the Chief Plenty Coups Day of Honor Saturday at Chief Plenty Coups State Park in Pryor. The yearly event gives visitors a glimpse into the life of the last Crow Chief. The event also included a fun run and a buffalo feast.

Veterans in uniform, Crow Indian dancers in full regalia and drummers—The Pryor Mountain Boys—provided a poignant kick off for an afternoon of speakers and activities marking the 2017 Chief Plenty Coups Day of Honor.

Several hundred people gathered on the grass outside of Chief Plenty Coups home on Saturday to watch the parade and hear presentations on the value of listening and how stories shape lives in different cultures. According to one speaker, Sargie Old Horn, cultural differences tend to be magnified because people are conditioned to hear from a certain perspective.

Take the story of the Indian boy who was offered money from a white man in exchange for a horse, as told by Old Horn. “He don’t look good,” the boy told the man. The man still wanted the horse despite the boy’s repeated statements that, “that horse, he don’t look good.” The man really wanted the horse, so he paid double what he first offered and left with the horse. The next day, the white man returned with the horse and told the boy he had been cheated. “This horse is blind,” the white man said. “I told you he don’t look good,” the boy replied confused.

For the past several centuries, different interpretations and languages have kept real communication from occurring Old Horn explained, giving several more examples. Some, including the story of why stepfathers aren’t to be trusted, included some non politically correct language, startling several folks, but making his point.

The annual day of honor included a fun run, vendors, a wreath dedication and a buffalo feast. This year’s event also included a silent auction.


The life of Chief Plenty Coups

Plenty Coups was the last of the Crow Indian Chiefs, elected at age 29 by the chiefs of three bands of the Crow. He was considered a visionary and a progressive leader and was an outstanding diplomat for all Indians. Born in 1848, in Montana, Plenty Coups promoted education for his people and encouraged cooperation. He based his leadership and diplomacy on a vision he experienced that foretold the white man’s reign. Plenty Coups wanted to preserve the Crow way of life and thought it best done without bloodshed. Before his death Plenty Coups donated his home on Pryor Creek to Big Horn County. It sits near a crystal-clear mountain spring and has been preserved for all to enjoy. It is now in the Montana State Park system. Visitors can tour the museum, Plenty Coups’ log cabin home and his burial site.


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