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Chapter 3.1: Breaking into Bands

Apsáalooke Writing Tribal Histories Project

Not too long after settling, a band of Apsáalooke formed, called the Bilapiluutche, Beaver Dries Its Fur. Because of the vast expanse of the lands the Apsáalooke inhabited, often times the different bands would not camp together year-round, but recognized each other as members of the same tribe. No one knows what happened to the Beaver Dries Its Fur Band, although many Apsáalooke and Kiowa believe that the band migrated south and eventually assimilated into the Kiowa.

Meanwhile, while the Apsáalooke became settled and comfortable in their surroundings, their parent tribe, the Hidatsa, had split into two sections. It is said that the next band of Apsáalooke people arose from a disagreement between the two groups of the Hidatsa, who were now living along the Missouri River. The supposed quarrel was over a buffalo that had drowned, and the distribution of tripe. The wife of Bad Heart Bear, one of the leaders of the Hidatsa bands, felt that they had not received an equal share of tripe, and the argument escalated and led to the eventual separation of Bad Heart Bear’s band. He and his followers migrated and joined the Apsáalooke, their band settling more along the rivers of Apsáalooke country. The Apsáalooke again had two bands, one that would be called Ashalaho, Many Lodges, later to be called the Mountain Crow, and one the Binneassiippeele, Those Who Live Amongst the River Banks, or the River Crow.

Understanding how the Apsáalooke people originated is very important to understanding the belief system and values of the tribe, since the tribe grew out of a vision, which led to a search for a plant that grows in a region that was ideal for the way of life, and the world that the people lived in, the homeland of the Apsáalooke is very important. Their relationship with the land, their strong feelings about it, was what drove them to keep the land during tribal warfare with neighboring tribes.

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