Crow Agency is a town in Montana. The namesake agency is in the town. The privately-owned town of Garryowen is nearby, as is the site of the Little Bighorn battlefield.
The town has some 1,500 inhabitants (2010). It is the governmental headquarters of the Crow Native Americans and the location of the agency offices, where federal representatives interact with the Crow Tribe, pursuant to federal treaties and statutes.
The Crow Tribe's reservations, and the tribe's relations to the United States were defined by treaties between the Crow Tribe and the United States, and by United States statutes. The Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1851 created extensive reservation lands for the Indian tribes in Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas at a time when the non-Indian presence in this area was limited to roving traders and the Crow tribe consisted of nomadic bands whose culture was based on hunting the migratory buffalo herds. Conflicts began when bands of the Sioux migrated westwards, and in 1863 when gold was discovered in western Montana. The Sioux went to war and forced the United States to close the trail through the Powder River country. The Crow reservation boundaries were remade in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, as the Sioux were given land in the former Crow areas. In compensation the Crow were promised some support. Sporadic conflicts with the Sioux continued. In 1874 miners encroached on the western margins of Crow lands in the Absaroka Range, and the reservation was again reduced in 1875. Rapid transition on the plains of eastern Montana and Wyoming followed, together with gold found in the Black Hills resulting in the Great Sioux War of 1876, where the Crows provided scouts for the United States military forces.
In the battle of Little Big Horn, the U.S. 7th Cavalry under George Custer suffered a major defeat to the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho.
The defeat resulted in a concerted military backlash against the Sioux, and soon the Sioux had to flee to Canada or were confined to reservations along the Missouri River. This first gave relief for the Crow, but with the Sioux presence neutralized, hide hunters came to harvest the northern buffalo herds. Also, the Northern Pacific Railroad was built. By 1882 the buffalo were gone and other game reduced, and the Crow's nomadic way of life could no more be sustained.
Interstate Highway 90 from Casper and Buffalo, Wyoming (in the south) and US Highway 212 from Belle Fourche, South Dakota (in the east) merge in Crow Agency, continuing to Billings, Montana.
- 1 Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (Custer's Last Stand), 756 Battlefield Tour Rd, Crow Agency (Take Interstate I-90, Crow Agency Exit 510 at Jct 212), ☏ +1 406 638-3216. 8AM–4:30PM; Summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day): 8AM–6PM. This area memorializes the US Army's 7th Cavalry, Crow, and Arikara scouts and the Lakotas, Cheyennes, and Arapaho in one of the American Indian's last armed efforts to preserve their way of life. Private vehicle $25; Motorcycle $20; Walk/ bicycle $15/person.
- 1 Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (drive northwest to Hardin, turn south to Highway 313, which leads to Fort Smith in the recreation area). National recreation area around Bighorn Lake, created by the Yellowtail Dam (named after the Crow leader Robert Yellowtail). The area straddles the border to Wyoming. Part of the area is in the Crow Indian Reservation. Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range is partly in the park.
- Crow Fair. every third week in August. The Crow Fair was created in 1904 by Crow leaders and an Indian government agent to present the Crow Tribe of Indians. It welcomes all Native American tribes of the Great Plains to its festivities. It attracts nearly 45,000 spectators and participants. Crow Fair is "the teepee capital of the world", with often over 1,500 teepees. The fair includes a parade each morning at 10AM, rodeo (including related activities), horse racing, and a pow-pow (Crow Dance Celebration) in the evening.
- Custer Batttlefield Trading Post
- Shake and Burger Hut
|Routes through Crow Agency|
|Bozeman/Great Falls ← Billings ←||W/N E/S||→ Sheridan → Buffalo|
|Yellowstone N.P. ← Billings ←||W E||→ Jct N S → Belle Fourche|