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Art of the Apsaalooka



A woman at an Apsaalooka campsite with horses (Photograph courtesy of the Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana)


Apsaalooka men on horseback (Photograph courtesy of the Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana)


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Apsaalooka woman on horseback overlooking a campsite (Photograph courtesy of the Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, Montana)


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A New Era on the Plains

The arrival of the horse greatly benefited the Native Americans of the Great Plains and quickly changed their way of life. One tribe that made the horse an especially important part of its culture was the Apsaalooka. The name means “people of the black-beaked bird,” and the Apsaalooka are also known as the Crow. Today the Apsaalooka still live on the northern Plains, in south-central Montana, and the horse remains central to their traditions.

The Apsaalooka were nomads, traveling from one campsite to another as they followed the buffalo, their main source of food. Hunting buffalo on foot was slow and difficult work. On horseback, tracking and hunting the buffalo that sustained their lives was easier. With horses, the Apsaalooka traveled farther and faster, expanding their territory and defending it. Before they had horses, they used dogs to help move their possessions from place to place. Using horses to carry things, the Apsaalooka were able to acquire more belongings. And they developed and refined the arts for which they are celebrated: horsemanship and beadwork.



 
   
September 2007