Manataka American Indian Council



Legends of Old:





Crow Indian Water-Medicine - Blackfoot





Once a Crow Indian had a son killed in war. He was in mourning, so he took his lodge into the mountains and camped there that he might have dreams in which power would be given him to revenge the death of his son.


He slept in the mountains ten nights. At last as he was sleeping, he had a dream, and in this dream, he heard drumming and singing. Then a man appeared and said, "Come over here: there is dancing." So he followed the man. They came to a lodge in which there were many old men and women. There were eight men with drums. He also saw weasel-skins, skins of the mink and otter, a whistle, a smudge-stick, some wild turnip for the smudge, and some berry-soup in a kettle. One old woman had an otter-skin with a weasel-skin around it like a belt. So the man staid there, learned the songs that these people sang, and when he came back to his people he started the Crow-water-medicine. Since that time he has had other dreams: and the skins of the beaver, the muskrat, all kinds of birds, etc., with many songs for each, have been added.

This medicine has great power. If any one wishes a horse, he calls in some of the Crow-water-medicine people. Then they pray, sing, and dance.  

The power of this medicine is such that after a while a man may come along and say, "I have had a bad dream. You must paint me, that the dream may not come true." Then he gives a horse as a fee. The medicine has power also in treating the sick. The people who have this medicine meet at regular times, - on Sundays and at the time of the new moon. They paint their faces with a broad red stripe across the forehead, and one across the mouth and cheeks. A rectangle of red is also painted on the back of each hand. Some wear plumes.

Anthropological Papers American Museum of Natural History, Vol. II, 1908.

Submitted by Blue Panther, Keeper of Stories.