Crowfeather Arrow and the Buffalos

Crowfeather Arrow and the Buffalos

After being refused by the Chiefs pretty daughter, Crowfeather Arrow decided to take revenge on the people.

The people were getting very hungry. The buffalo was on the move and it was hard for them to keep up with the herds. Crowfeather arrow got an idea to get that revenge he wanted. He must hide the buffalo so the people wouldn’t find them at all. Using that supernatural power entrusted to him by Creator Sun, he rounded up all of the buffalo and hid them in a mountain canyon.

The men of the camps were out in mass to find the herds of buffalo. They needed to kill a lot of buffalo to last them for quite a while.  The people depended on fresh meat for their main source of energy and vitamins.

All of the people seemed to be starving except for Crowfeather Arrow, who had lots of energy. This was observed by Chief Bellyfat. Bellyfat was up very early hiding and watching Crowfeather Arrow sneaking out of camp and disappearing into quaking aspens. A little while after, a beautiful white crow came up out of the thickets. Bellyfat wasn’t to be fooled easily, he knew that it was no other than Crowfeather Arrow.

Crowfeather Arrow was on his way to eat. He knew where the buffalos were, where he had hid them. He was getting his fill every day and letting the rest go hungry. He wanted to make sure no one was watching, so he flew circling round and round first to fool anyone watching before he flew straight north.

Bellyfat was just too smart for that. He didn’t move, he just kept his eyes glued on the white crow flying north. He seen the crow fly along the mountain side, far west of the camps, he flew again far to the north just to throw everyone that may have seen him as the crow off guard.  Before the crow came back, Bellyfat made a dash for the aspens that Crowfeather Arrow had disappeared into. Sure enough there, laid in a heap was his clothing. Bellyfat just made it back into hiding when the white crow came back. Not long after Crowfeather Arrow came walking out of the thicket.

The same went on for a few days while Bellyfat watched. When he knew where the crow ended up, he ran as fast as he could in the direction of the canyon. There he changed himself into a dead dear, laying on his back and observing everything. The crow was tempted by the dear, as dear-meat is a delicacy and when he came close to peck at it, Bellyfat changed back into himself and grabbed the crow.

Bellyfat asked the crow where all of the herds of buffalo had disappeared to. The crow kept answering that he didn’t know. He took the crow back to camp and Bellyfat got himself a piece of rawhide rope to tie the crow’s legs together. He then ran the rope over one of the tipi posts right where the smoke vent was. The crow hung down from the tipi poles head down. Bellyfat told the crow: “I have a way to make you talk.” He went to make a fire and put sage on it  to make a thick smoke and soon the crow pleaded with him to stop. It wasn’t long until the crow said he would tell where the buffalo were.

Bellyfat went in after the smoke cleared and had to laugh. The crow was burned black and his eyes were red. Crowfeather Arrow, the now black crow wanted freedom and he told Bellyfat exactly where the buffalo were.

After the people had found the buffalo and had gotten lots of meat for all, Bellyfat let the crow, which was Crowfeather Arrow loose and when he flew off he said: “All of the crows to come , after this, shall all be black like you are now, to remember never to try to starve the people again”. When he flew away the crow said: “aw, aw, aw. In our Piegan language,” aw” or “ah” means yes. To this day you can hear the crow agreeing to that promise as they say “aw, aw” and they are still black.

From: The History Of The World As My Blackfeet Elders Told It, By Percy Bullchild

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