Joe Medicine Crow, last Crow War Chief, receives Presidential Medal of Freedom VIDEO

US President Barack Obama conferred America’s highest civilian honour the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Joe Medicine Crow received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian honor) from President Barack Obama on August 12, 2009.
Medicine Crow broke tradition and briefly spoke after Obama gave him the medal, telling the president he was “highly honored” to receive it.

 

 

joe-medicine-crow-american-indian-chief-freedom-medal-ceremony joe-medicine-crow-american-indian-chief-freedom-medal-ceremony-2 joe-medicine-crow-american-indian-chief-freedom-medal-ceremony-3 image
Click the photos for larger version
(Above photo credits: AP photo by Alex Brandon / August 12, 2009)

 

 

 

Chief Joseph Medicine Crow looks at his 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom after President Barack Obama placed it around his neck, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

 

  

 

Joe Medicine Crow was born near Lodge Grass on the Crow reservation in Montana. He is a cousin to Pauline Small, the first woman elected to the Crow Tribe of Indians. His step-grandfather, White Man Runs Him, was a scout for George Armstrong Custer and an eyewitness to the battle. He grew up hearing stories of the momentous event. The first member of his tribe to attend college, his graduate studies were interrupted by World War II.

Joe Medicine Crow joined the army, becoming a scout in the 103rd Infantry Division. Whenever he went into battle, he wore his war paint beneath his uniform and a sacred eagle feather beneath his helmet.  Without realizing it, Medicine Crow completed all four tasks required to become a war chief. He touched a living enemy soldier and disarmed an enemy when he turned a corner and found himself face to face with a young German soldier:

“ The collision knocked the German’s weapon to the ground. Mr. Crow lowered his own weapon and the two fought hand-to-hand. In the end Mr. Crow got the best of the German, grabbing him by the neck and choking him. He was going to kill the German soldier on the spot when the man screamed out “momma.” Mr. Crow then let him go.”

He also led a successful war party and stole an enemy horse, making a midnight raid to steal the horses from a battalion of German officers (as he rode off, he sang a traditional Crow honor song.) He is the last member of the Crow tribe to become a war chief. Of his story, noted documentarian Ken Burns said, “The story of Joseph Medicine Crow is something I’ve wanted to tell for 20 years.” Mr. Crow was interviewed and appeared in the 2007 Ken Burns PBS series The War, describing his World War II service.

image image image image image image image image image image image image

image 
A young Joe Medicine Crow. His grandfather was a chief of the Crow tribe.

Tribal Spokesman
After serving in the army, he returned to the Crow Agency. In 1948, he was appointed tribal historian and anthropologist. Now well into his 90s, he remains active writing and lecturing. In 1999, he addressed the United Nations. He is a frequent guest speaker at Little Bighorn College and the Little Big Horn Battlefield Museum and has appeared in several documentaries about the battle. A noted author, his books have included Crow Migration Story, Medicine Crow, the Handbook of the Crow Indians Law and Treaties, Crow Indian Buffalo Jump Techniques, and From the Heart of Crow Country. He also authored a children’s book entitled Brave Wolf and the Thunderbird.

Education
He received a bachelor degree from Linfield College in 1938. He attended the University of Southern California, earning a master’s degree in anthropology in 1939. He was the first member of the Crow tribe to obtain a master’s degree. His thesis, The Effects of European Culture Contact upon the Economic, Social, and Religious Life of the Crow Indians, has become one of the most widely cited documents concerning Crow culture. He received an honorary doctorate from Rocky Mountain College in 1999. He received an honorary doctorate at USC in 2003.

Honors
On June 25, 2008, he received two military decorations, the Bronze Star and the Légion d’honneur.On July 17, 2008, Senators Max Baucus, Jon Tester, and Mike Enzi introduced a bill to award him the Congressional Gold Medal.

His book Counting Coup: Becoming a Crow Chief on the Reservation and Beyond, written about his life, was chosen by the National Council for the Social Studies as a “Notable Tradebook for Young People” in 2007.

Joe Medicine Crow received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian honor) from President Barack Obama on August 12, 2009. Medicine Crow broke tradition and briefly spoke after Obama gave him the medal, telling the president he was “highly honored” to receive it.

 

Quotes

When asked about war: “No one wins. Both sides lose. The Indians, so called hostiles, won the battle of the day, but lost their way of life.

Many Native Americans came to the war steeped in age-old warrior traditions. “I was ready to go overseas, and a cousin of mine had just come back from Europe, you know. He was a tail gunner,” remembered Joe Medicine Crow of the Crow Nation. “And before he left, a medicine man, a Sun Dance medicine man called Sacred Powers, gave my cousin an eagle feather, a fluffy feather painted yellow. ‘All right,’ he said, ‘Put that inside of your helmet, then she’ll protect you.’ So long as that, that sacred, protective feather was in my helmet, why, I was never afraid of anything.”

Links

Joe Medicine Crow’s life and work
Joe Medicine Crow’s biography, photos, film clips, online articles, slideshows, links, and more

 

 

Stories of great Native Americans

About admin