Thursday, August 4, 2011

Crow Buttes, A Site of Two Battles

A panoramic view of Crow Buttes.  For an image of higher resolution, and to see a few other images, visit: https://www.dropbox.com/gallery/36398036/1/Black%20Hills%202011?h=4c9afb
Crow Buttes, South Dakota
A Site of Two Battles
By Dakota Wind
CROW BUTTES, S.D. - In 1822, the Lakota and the Crow engaged in an outright battle here at this site, now called Crow Buttes.  According to the research conducted by the Butte County Historical Society and the Game, Fish, and Parks Commission, a Lakota war party came upon a Crow camp and utterly ravaged it and violated the women. 

The Crow wanted revenge, and left what was left of their village (elders, women, and children) north of the buttes at Sand Creek.  The Crow war party ascended the larger butte for a better vantage of the broad landscape.  It was a hastily recruited war party and they brought only weapons, no water. 

The Crow war party was surrounded at the butte, pinned there by the Lakota war party.  The weather on the plains being as it is, semi-arid, no rainfall to relieve the Crow war party was in sight, and they perished from lack of water.

According to the research party mentioned in the first paragraph, a nearby canyon to the northwest of the buttes was littered with the skulls of the Lakota who "died like flies after contracting a fever from the Crows." 

I disagree Butte County Historical Society and Game, Fish, and Parks Commission. 

According to the Blue Thunder winter count (amongst several other winter counts) the Hunkpapa Lakota engaged in a battle with the Crow at Crow Buttes in 1858.  Using the same strategy thirty years before, the Lakota waited out the battle letting the Crow again perish of thirst at the buttes.  According to the Blue Thunder winter count, the Hunkpapa Lakota war party climbed the butte and executed the Crow war party - there were nine Crow warriors, all shot in the head.

After the execution, the Crow war party, all nine of them, were beheaded, their bodies left for scavengers. 

Today Crow Buttes, sits in Harding County, north of Belle Fourche, SD.  It is a lonely and serene sight despite the terrible events which occurred there.  

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