Counting Coup: Becoming a Crow Chief on the Reservation and Beyond

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Medicine Crow tells of a childhood lived mainly outdoors: bathing in icy rivers, mud fights, listening to stories about family and community, and counting coup.

 

As tribal historian of the Absarokee (Crow) Nation, Joseph Medicine Crow would have to be a very good storyteller and have a very long memory. He is and does. Here, in short stories with an ironic humor that seems to be the forte of elders, Medicine Crow tells of a childhood lived mainly outdoors: bathing in icy rivers, mud fights, racing horses, stealing a cow from a white rancher, listening to stories about family and community, and counting coup. In the old days, in order for someone to become an Absarokee war chief it was necessary to accomplish four life-threatening coups—capture an enemy’s horse, touch the first enemy to fall in battle, steal an enemy’s weapons, and lead a war party. Counting Coup is about confronting fears; it’s an excellent read that will resonate with middle readers, and might encourage them to interview their own elders.

 

Author: Joseph Medicine Crow (Absarokee) with Herman J. Viola

Illustrations: Black and white photos

Binding Availability: Hardcover

Published: 2006

Tribes/Ethnic Groups: Crow (Absarokee)