Ann Big Man Collection

Accession Number
John Ille
Access Restrictions on Use
Preferred Citation of Materials
The Ann Big Man Collection, Little Big Horn College Archives, Crow Agency, MT 59022.

Physical Description

Linear Feet
Comprehensive Dates
Correspondence, Tribal Council Material (Announcements, Agendas, Minutes, and Resolutions), published material related to Crow tribe, Crow history, culture, and genealogy.

Biographical Note

Ann Big Man was born in Crow Agency, Montana in 1922 to Max and Cordelia Big Man. Big Man attended local schools and later took courses at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She held a variety of positions on the Crow reservation including as a teacher’s aide and a librarian at the Crow Agency elementary school. Big Man also held long tenure as a bookkeeper for the Crow tribe, where much of the material for the collection originated. After her retirement from Crow tribal government, Big Man worked for many years in a senior program at the Little Big Horn College library. Big Man resided in Crow Agency before she passed away in 2005.


As a result of her professional tenure with the Crow tribe, Ann Big Man acquired a large body of material that dealt with the day to day operation of tribal government. Beyond the accrual of governmental documents, Big Man’s family played a prominent role in Crow culture and politics. Her father Max wrote extensively on Crow’s history and culture much of which Ann acquired after his death. Therefore, the Ann Big Man Collection reflects both the function of tribal government over half a century, while also integrating cultural and historical representations from the middle decades of the twentieth century.


Series One: Tribal Administration and Governance

Series one documents the functioning of tribal government at various levels from the 1940s to the beginning of the twenty first century. Divided into five subseries, series one documents the creation of policy and its implementation.

Series Two: Historical, Political, and Cultural Resources.

Series two of the Ann Big Man Collection includes material not related to Crow tribal administration contained within the donation to the Little Big Horn College Archives. The series includes family histories and genealogies, histories related to the Crow Reservation, and articles related to Native American sovereignty. The series also includes books owned by Ann Big Man that deal with religion, history, and politics.

Series Three: Cultural, Historical, and Political Writings of the Big Man Family.

Series three includes writings and correspondence (handwritten) by various members of the Big Man family. The series especially emphasizes the writings of Max Big Man, a prominent member of the Crow tribe during the early to mid: twentieth century. While Max Big Man wrote a large number of the pieces in the series and most untitled pieces provenance probably belong to him, other members of the Big Man family, particularly Minnie Williams, contributed materials included as well. When a piece has an definitive author, it will be listed at the file level.

Max Big Man Biography

Max Big Man was born in 1890 in Crow Agency, Montana. He attended school at boarding schools both on and off the Crow reservation. The period of Big Man’s childhood proved transitory for the Crows due to the imposition of the reservation system. Big Man helped maintain cultural continuity with the past as wrote extensively on pre-reservation cultural stories. He also enjoyed sharing Crow culture with broader audiences as evidenced by his correspondence with non-Crows and his frequent performances for tourists arriving at the train station in Hardin, Montana. Big Man also actively participated in Crow politics during the first half of the twentieth century and became a critic of many policies Robert Yellowtail undertook both during and after Yellowtail’s term as superintendent of the Crow agency. He steadfastly opposed the Indian Reorganization Act, which the Crows voted down in 1935. Later, Big Man supported the creation of Yellowtail dam and participated in the River Crow faction during the ensuing dispute in the 1950s.