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Apsáalooke Then and Now Timeline

"There are no clocks to measure time
but the beating of our singing hearts."

-Herold Littlebird, Laguna Pueblo

From: Old Coyote, Mickey. Apsaalooke: Then and Now. Greensburg: MacDonald/Swãrd Publishing Company 1993.

Traditional exodus from the northern "bush country" and separation from the Crow ancestral tribe. Chief No Vitals, after receiving a vision, led about 400 people westward on foot, using pack dogs. Based upon glottochronology, the separation from the parent tribe occurred anywhere from 1800-2500 years ago.
c. 1600
The Great Spirit appeared to Chief No Vitals again and gave him sacred ceremonial seeds. Later tribal members went on a reconnaissance trip to Mexico and returned in five years with much knowledge.
Crow Tribe and Northern Plains Indians acquired horses from natives near Great Salt Lake. (Horses, after being extinct for 10,000 years in America, were reintroduced to Southwest Natives by European explorers, the Spaniards, in the 1500s and 1600s. These horses were primarily of the Andalusian, Arabian, and Barb blood).
Apsaalookas (Crows) saw white men for the first time near present town of Hardin, Montana. These were the Verendrye brothers from Canada. They the Crows Beau Hommes when crossing the Absaroka Divide, now called the Shoshone Pass.
King George III set aside reserved lands for Indians.
Plan for Imperial Department of Indian Affairs
Continental Congress first named a committee on Indian Affairs.
17 Sep 1778
First United States Indian treaty-signed with the Delaware; previous treaties were with British.
War Department, included Indian Authority, established by Congress.
Government-operated Indian trading houses established.
Louisiana Purchase, vast Indian lands, acquired by the U.S. from France-no consultation with Indians living on these lands as sovereign nations.
Lewis & Clark traveled across Crow Country. Clark met Apsaalookas at Pompey’s Pillar. Francois Laroque visited Crows on Yellowstone about this time.
Congress enacted first Indian education program-civilization fund.
Indian trading houses and Office of Indian Trade abolished; new Office of Superintendent of Indian Affairs with headquarters at St. Louis for western territories, General William Clark, first superintendent.
Monroe Doctrine banned European colonial interference in Western Hemisphere.
11 Mar 1824
Bureau of Indian Affairs established, in War Department, called Office of Indian Affairs.
Crows made their first treaty [Friendship Treaty] with the United States.
28 May 1830
President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act (IRA) passed, forcing eastern Indians west; caused friction among all.
congress recognizes small Indian Bureau and designates its head, Commissioner of Indian Affairs; same year funds were appropriated by U.S. Congress for vaccination of some Indian tribes against small pox.
30 Jun 1834
Act organizes Department of Indian Affairs.
New Indian Trade and Intercourse Act, regulating Federal Indian administration; Congress requires agents to live among tribes.
Government distributes smallpox-infected blankets as germ warfare in Crow Country where no vaccine had been inoculated. Epidemic reduced population from over 15000 to fewer than 1000. (Population in 1992 back to nearly 15000.)
Long colonial period, in eyes of western Indians.
Reservations formed.
c. 1850
First siege of entire Crow Tribe by Sioux in which Crows won.
First so-called Treaty of Fort Laramie. Crow Country reduced to 38 million acres.
Homestead Act, giving 160 acres of Indian lands to settlers for $1.25 an acre.
Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapahoe’s tried to annihilate the Crows but failed, seven miles north of present Pryor, Montana. Crow warriors were outnumbered over 10 to 1 but succeeded in blocking the invasion.
13 Aug 1868
Last treaty signed between U.S. Government and Indians, second Treaty of Fort Laramie. Crow Country reduced to 8 million acres.
Board of Indian Commissioners (9men) formed, lasting until 1933.
Indian Homestead Act passed.
Crow’s required to conduct "reservation life."
3 Mar 1871
Treaty policy ends between United States and Indians.
Extension of transcontinental railways across West.
First time American Natives mentioned in U.S. political party platform calling for "a wise and humane policy toward Indians."
Crow Agency moved to Rosebud River near Absarokee, Montana.
Indian Rights Association formed during Helen Hunt Jackson’s special Indian commissionership.
11 Apr 1882
Land Cessation agreement with Crow reservation reduced acreage.
Crow Agency moved near Big Horn and Little Big Horn junction due to murder of member by BIA.
National Indian Association organized.
Congress unreasonably delayed relief for starving Indians in Montana; inaction rebuked by letter in the New York Tribune.
Indians regarded as wards, with complete dependence upon the U.S.
8 Feb 1887
Congress adopts Dawes General Allotment Act.
Crow Tribe confined to reservation, homeland remnants.
Secretary of the Interior, Hoke Smith, (Cleveland Administration), came to Crow Agency to purchase part of the Crow reservation; Aleck Greene official interpreter for council.
United States Indian population rose for first time since 1492
Federal Indian reclamation, forestry, and conservation began.
Annual Crow Fair established.
Land cessation of Crow territory reduces it to 3 million.
8 May 1906
Burke Act, amended Dawes Act on allotments.
Society of American Indians, founded by Gertrude S. Bonnin, Dr. Charles Eastman, (Ohiyesa, a Santee Sioux) etc., beginning of a new unified, pan-Indian faith.
Native American Church incorporated in Oklahoma.
14 Jun 1920
Crow Allotment Act
11 Nov 1921
Chief Plenty Coups, the last traditional leader of the Crow Nation, represented all Native Americans at the dedication of the "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., by placing his war bonnet on this sacred shrine.
1921 (amended 1928)
Snyder Act provided funds for health, social, economic assistance, and tribal health programs, without regard to degree of Indian blood. Under amended act, basic tribal government activities and local services are funded through BIA.
2 Jun 1924
Indians (not all tribes) granted citizenship and right to vote.
Indian Health Division established within Indian Bureau.
26 May 1926
Crow Act of 1920 amended, authorized leasing of allotted lands for many purposes, including oil and gas leases. From 1920s until present, Crows request Allotment Act to be addressed by authorities. No action taken.
Committee of One Hundred; Meriam Report-poor tribal conditions.
18 Jun 1934
Indian Reorganization Act (IRA), Wheeler-Howard Act, New Deal, allotment policy ended but BIA in control of tribes.
Crow Tribe opposes IRA due to BIA control clause.
Johnson O’Malley Act, diffusion of Indian administration and education.
BIA threatens to dismiss Indian employees who speak against Washington policies.
Act set up Indian Arts and Crafts Board, established the next year.
BIA protects non-Indians instead of Indians in regard to leases.
Indian Affairs Committee of the U.S. Senate recommended abolishing the BIA.
National Congress of American Indians organized in Denver (NCAI).
Indian Claims Commission established League of North American Indians; first time all Indians could file claim suit against Government.
Competency Act allowed leases to be signed without direct approval of the BIA; instead went through private firms, which in turn had to get approval by the BIA.
BIA constitution for Crow Tribe and other tribes; went into effect following year.
Indian Revolving Loan Act.
Hoover Commission recommends transfer of Indian Bureau to Federal Security Agency; bill not passed.
American Indian Historical Society formed by Rupert Costo.
Under Truman Administration, Indian Commissioner Dillon Myer’s Relocation Program, leading up to 12 termination bills. Myers had run internment camps for American Japanese, his qualification for the job.
Jul 1953
Indian Termination Act; Congressional resolution of termination of Federal services and supervision of Indian Health Act passed; House Concurrent Resolution 108.
1 Jul 1955
Indian Health Act passed; transferred Indian Health Division from Indian Bureau to the U.S. Public Health Service.
18 Sep 1958
After many tribes terminated, policy of termination discouraged; concentration on health, education, and economic development instead of assimilation.
Passage of Indian Land Sales Act, U.S. Public Law 150-529, permitting sale of individually-owned reservation lands to non-Indians.
late 1950s
Modern-day problems of Crows increase. Yellowtail Dam water rights lost.
Court of Claims awarded 10 million dollars to Crow Nation for land taken from them by the Federal Government since 1851.
11 Dec 1961
BIA inflicted strict Resolution 62-11 and 62-12 on Crows, controlling their money and forcing all tribal policies and activities to be approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Area Redevelopment Act passed by U.S. Congress, provided economic assistance to deprived areas and also made grants to tribes for building tribal headquarters and community facilities.
Interior Secretary Stewart L. Udall names Task Force on Indian Affairs.
Economic Opportunity Act, major breakthrough during Johnson Administration’s war on poverty, with Native Americans beneficiaries of action.
First time Crows strive for sovereignty, under Edison Real Bird.
1960s. Although FBI/OIG harassment and destabilization of Native nations became prominent in early 1960s, Johnson Administration reflected hope in Indian policy reform.
President Johnson’s Indian Bill of Rights, Title II, amendment to Civil Rights Act.
Crow Mineral Act signed by President Johnson.
National Council of American Indians Opportunity created; Indian involvement in decision making policy planning began.
Amerind founded under sponsorship of the National Indian Youth Council-established to protect rights of Indian employees of U.S. Government agencies.
President Nixon’s new Indian policy-self determination without termination.
Native American Rights Fund, California private legal organization, received over a million dollars in a grant from the Ford Foundation.
Apr 1971
National Tribal Chairmen’s Association (NTCA) created.
Period of fraud and mismanagement of Crow Tribe, principally by BIA.
Indian Education Act; employment assistance or relocation program; first tribe, Menominee, restored after having been terminated.
Trail of Broken Treaties, led by Dennis Banks and Russell Means.
13 Aug 1973
Office of Indian Rights, formed in Department of Justice, 182 years after the United States Bill of Rights.
American Indian National Bank (AINB) opened in Washington.
Indian voting age lowered to eighteen years to conform with the 26th amendment, U.S. Constitution.
Implementation of Indian Religion Issues including feather case; Crow Delegation to National Indian Traditionalist Conference.
Passage of the Indian Financing Act provided $250 million in credit for Indians and grants up to $50,000 to Indian small businesses.
4 Jan 1975
Indian Self-Determination and Educational Assistance Act passed, Public Law 93-638.
Oct 1975
Crow Tribe sues to invalidate coal mining leases on reservation.
Indian Health Care Improvement Act passed.
American Indian Policy Review Commission (AIPRC) Final Report, 95th Congress, First Session, joint commission of Congress conducted exhaustive analysis of relationship between the U.S. and Native American governments.
11 Aug 1978
American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) passed. Senate Joint Resolution 102, numerous Crow members instrumental.
Crow Tribe files coal severance tax suit against Montana, three years after controversial tax was passed.
Crow Tribe administered by strict BIA control.
Crows win inherent sovereignty case in Supreme Court.
May 1986-90
Second time tribe starts to make progress toward sovereignty and development of resources, during Richard Real Bird administration.
11 Jan 1987
Apsaalookas win millions in Crow Coal Severance Tax Case from state of Montana, a Supreme Court decision.
12 Mar 1987
Real Bird Administration fires former Secretary of Interior, James C. Watt, for neglect, etc. in litigation over 107th Meridian Crow boundary, survey mistake made by the U.S. Government.
4 Aug 1987
Crow Tribe filed dereliction suit against U.S. Government regarding Section 2, Crow Allotment Act of 1920; breach of trust responsibility.
22 Oct 1987
First machine-gun raid on Crow Tribe by FBI/OIG SWAT team that confiscated BIA records from Crow Tribal office.
22-24 Jun 1988
"The Crow Nation: A Historical and Cultural Presentation" at Billings, Montana, by the Crow Tribe.
BIA shuts off Crow Tribe from heat, utilities, and their own monies.
2 May 1989
Coal taxes released to U.S. Treasury after accumulating in federal court escrow account since 1982.
17 Jul 1989
Second machine-gun raid by FBI/OIG SWAT team, at same time as Crow instigated investigation of mismanagement and missing millions of dollars of Indian funds in trust by BIA.
24 Jul 1989
Federal Marshals quickly indict 26 members of Crow Tribe.
Aug 1989
Indian Leaders, led by Richard Real Bird, form First American Sovereignty Alliance.
Oct 1989
BIA secretary storms Crow Tribal Council meeting to take away voting rights and government participation from Chairman Richard Real Bird and others indicted; same month BIA froze tribal funds; BIA instigated riot.
Real Bird Administration members’ cases dropped in indictment.
Investigation of BIA, called for by Crow Nation; with BIA found to be corrupt, New Indian Federalism proposed by Congress to give funds directly to Indians and to give them control of their own government.
BIA presents dictatorial control over Crow Tribe in its Resolution No. 90-35; leader of 1989 riot in charge of Crow Tribe.
Tribal Leader, Richard Real Bird incarcerated; joins list of imprisoned Indian Chiefs also striving for recognition of tribal sovereignty.
12 Oct 1992
Date indicates 500 years of suppression and oppression of Native Americans by dominant society.
Nov 1992
Richard Real Bird released from prison.
BIA still has stranglehold on Crow Tribal Government.