Plenty Coups

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The chief and the chickadee


Chief Plenty Coups, last of the great Crow chiefs, in battle wore the legs and feet of the chickadee braided in the long black hair behind his ear. After listening to an early vision received by this future chief, the Crow Elders told Plenty Coups, “The chickadee is your medicine. We must be wise like the chickadee.” And he honored this tiny bird throughout his life. Power from and communication between species is something most people don’t believe in now—or even try to understand. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Adrian Jawort: Recollections of Joe Medicine Crow


Some 14 years ago I sat in the back of a van along with a group of Little Big Horn College students on their way to pick up Joe Medicine Crow before going across the border to Ucross, Wyo., home of the Ucross Foundation Art Gallery and temporary display area of the Barstow Collection of ledger art. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: Three favorite books, non-candidate division


I was recently asked by a community group that will be interviewing Billings City Council candidates if I had any questions for the candidates. My suggestion wasn’t really a question, it was this: “Name your three favorite books.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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Ben Pease, paintbrush storyteller

Ben Pease says “Last Good Man,” his many-layered portrait of Crow Chief Plenty Coups, is his signature piece. It is the richest expression of a style of painting he calls “American Indian Narrative,” in which a portrait sits in the midst of other images, other media, other forms of storytelling. Pease himself has a chief-like bearing. He is tall and solidly built, like the college football player he once was, but at the age of 24 he carries himself with a calm gracefulness, and his habitual smile can be disarming. His portrait of Plenty Coups is on display at Mr. A’s Fine Art Gallery in Hardin, along with other of his works. Continue Reading →

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