Determining the Self
Determining the Self
Following the Northern Cheyenne revolt, this chapter moves to the adjacent Crow Reservation to detail similar efforts to resist non-Indian mining there. The bulk of the chapter, however, is dedicated to understanding the contentious intra-tribal debates that ensued over what type of mining this community would allow. One faction of young, educated Crows, living mostly off the reservation, pushed for the creation of a semi-autonomous, expert-laden mineral committee empowered to pursue mining only for minerals the tribe owned adjacent to the reservation. According to this group, developing off-reservation resources would preserve the reservation’s non-Indian character and its physical integrity, both of which were key to preserving the tribe. Another group of older, on-reservation Indians, however, feared the community could not survive without revenue from on-reservation mining. This faction argued that the tribal chairman should retain authority over mineral development, and that changing their traditional governing structure would render the tribe something other than Crow. When the tribe narrowly determined to prohibit on-reservation mining, to place power over its resources in a new governing body, and to impeach its chairman, the Crow not only set tribal energy policy, but also made cultural choices about what it meant to be Crow.
Keywords: Crow tribe, Native American Rights Fund, Edison Real Bird, Patrick Stands Over Bull, Westmoreland Coal Company, Crow Coal Authority, Northsiders (aka Mountain Crow), Southsiders (aka River Crow), tribal identity, Red Power Movement
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