Carl Henning

Yellowstone County Museum

You get to the Yellowstone County Museum by going to the Billings Logan International Airport. Really. The tiny airport grew and the museum stayed put and wound up on the airport grounds. This is the TARDIS of museums – it s bigger on the inside that the outside. That’s because the entrance is an old cabin but downstairs is huge floor space that goes beyond the footprint of the cabin.

So much of the time at museums we get caught up in artifacts, animals, and ancient peoples. Reading about Joe Medicine Crow and seeing the short film about him was inspiring. The Crow allied themselves with the United States and Joe took that to the limit. In the process of his World War 2 service he became a Crow War Chief.

This introduction is from one of the museum signs about him:

Counting Coups
The Crow, and many other tribes on the High Plains, recognized a formal honor system practiced in combat. The word “coup” (pronounced: coo) was originally a French term that denotes a rapid or unexpected change; in Plains Indian cultures, however, coup came to mean a singular act of bravery on the battlefield. One would “count” a coup by performing one of four acts of bravery while endangered by an enemy presence. Counting coup was not merely a show of skill or courage, but a means in which Crow warriors could advance their station among the tribe. By performing each of the 4 coups at least once, Crow men would obtain the status of War Chief which came with honor and recognition among their people. The more coups a warrior counted, the higher their Status and prestige. These tasks were exceptionally dangerous and many Crow warriors lost their lives in the pursuit of chieftainship.

Read more at Wikipedia.

[This was our last bloggable stop on the way home. I hope you enjoyed this trip, too.]

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