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Joe Medicine Crow
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Native American Icon
    (October 27, 1913-April 3, 2016)
    Born in Crow Indian Reservation (near Lodge Grass), Montana
    During World War II became the last Crow to perform the four tasks required to become a War Chief:
    1.Lead a successful war party
    2. Take an enemy’s weapon
    3. Touch an enemy without killing him
    4. Steal an enemy’s horse
    Named tribal historian (1948)
    Wrote several books including ‘The Crow Migration Story,’ ‘Handbook of the Crow Indian Law and Treaties,’ ‘From the Heart of Crow Country’ and the children’s book ‘Brave Wolf and the Thunderbird’
    Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009)
    His step-grandfather was a scout for General George Armstrong Custer.
    He was an advisor for ‘They Died with Their Boots On’ (a film about the Battle of Little Bighorn starring Errol Flynn as Custer), but the producers ignored him when he tried to correct their inaccuracies.
    A bill to award him the Congressional Gold Medal failed to get the required sponsorship of two-thirds of the Senate (2008).
    Growing up, he ran through the snow barefoot and bathed in freezing streams to toughen him.
    He earned a masters degree in anthropology from USC (1939), making him the first member of the Crow tribe to earn an advanced degree: ‘People said that Indians are just too dumb, they are not capable of getting a college education. I wanted to disprove that.’
    During World War II, he wore tribal war paint and kept a sacred eagle feather under his helmet.
    While seizing 50 horses from an SS camp, he sang a traditional Crow honor song as he rode off.
    He received the Bronze Star and the French Legion of Honor.
    He wrote a script based on his step-grandfather’s recollections of the Battle of Little Bighorn that has been used by re-enactors since 1965.
    He appeared in the PBS documentary miniseries ‘The War’ (2007), with director Ken Burns saying ‘The story of Joseph Medicine Crow is something I've wanted to tell for 20 years.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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