Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A good country ...

Undoubtedly, the best-known Native American quote that's associated with Montana is Chief Joseph's famous "I will fight no more, forever" speech, given at the Bear Paw Battlefield in 1877. But my favorite is another well-known one, part of which is excerpted below. Though stories of its origin vary just a bit, it was reportedly given about 1833 by a Crow Chief named Eelápuash (also spelled Arapooish), and recorded in the journals of a man named Benjamin L.E. Bonneville. The journals were later edited and published by the noted author and essayist Washington Irving.
The Crow Country is a good country. The Great Spirit has put it exactly in the right place; while you are in it you fare well; whenever you go out of it, whichever way you travel, you will fare worse. . . . The Crow Country is exactly in the right place. It has snowy mountains and sunny plains; all kinds of climates and good things for every season. When the summer heats scorch the prairies, you can draw up under the mountains, where the air is sweet and cool, the grass fresh, and the bright streams come tumbling out of the snow banks. There you can hunt the elk, the deer, and the antelope, when their skins are fit for dressing; there you will find plenty of white bears and mountain sheep. In the autumn, when your horses are fat and strong from the mountain pastures, you can go down into the plains and hunt the buffalo, or trap beaver on the streams. And when winter comes on, you can take shelter in the woody bottoms along the rivers; there you will find buffalo meat for yourselves, and cottonwood bark for your horses . . . . The Crow Country is exactly in the right place. Everything good is to be found there. There is no country like the Crow Country.


  1. There's not much else you can say about this state, is there? I've never read this; thanks for posting it!

  2. Yep, he definitely had the place figured out. :)

    I think what I posted is about half of the full speech, and the whole thing is worth reading. One line I really like that's in the remainder of the speech is, "What is a country without horses?"