In 1998 I received a call from Hank Real Bird of the Crow Indians inviting me to give a Horsemanship clinic at the Crow reservation in Crow Agency, Montana. There began my friendship with the Crow Indians.
Ever since that first clinic, I continued to build my relationship with these unique, amazing people. Year after year I returned to their reservation and taught them what I could regarding horses and horsemanship, all the while they were teaching me about their life, nature, traditions, history and culture.
Because of the close bond that I developed with the Crow, I was adopted into the Crow Indian Nation in 2004 and given my Indian name by the last living war chief of the Crows -the well known and respected Joe Medicine Crow. I have maintained my relationship through the years and have made many lifelong friendships.
Their closeness to history never ceases to amaze me. A culture rich with storytelling, I am often told of how their grandfathers and great grandfathers stood with Custer, and how they witnessed his Last Stand. Just 120 years ago their close relatives – I wouldn’t even call them ancestors – were living a nomadic and warrior lifestyle riding the plains and hunting buffalo.
During my visit this summer with the Crow Indians, I participated in my third Sun Dance. It is difficult to put into words an experience that is so powerful, spiritual and moving!
It is a blessing to have and continue my association with the Indians who are keeping so much tradition alive in America – with culture, as well as their horses and horsemanship. I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given to be invited into this incredible group of people who live that native way, understanding the land, the animals and finding the power and magic in all life.