The last traditional Chief of the Crow Nation, Plenty Coups was a visionary that led his people from the ‘Buffalo Days’ into the 20th century. He was an accomplished statesman and ambassador well known by several US Presidents and foreign leaders. Chief Plenty Coups best illustrated the close bond between the US and Crow Nation when, in 1921, he offered his war bonnet and coups sticks at the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In his speech, he promised the allegiance of Crow warriors to fight any enemy of the United States. His promise has been upheld countless times in wars or armed conflicts since that gathering. The Chief was a leader by example – he was a productive farmer and stockman, expert steward of his 1885 allotment, and a supporter of education.
Plenty Coups (otherwise known as Aleek-chea-ahoosh) (1848 – 1932) was a Crow chief and visionary leader. He allied Crow with the whites when the war for the West was being fought, because the Sioux and Cheyenne (who were opposing white settlement of the area) were the traditional enemies of the Crow. Plenty Coups had also experienced a vision when he was very young that non-Native people would ultimately take control of his homeland (Montana), so he always felt that cooperation would benefit his people much more than opposition.
Chief Plenty Coups: One of his famous quotes is: “Education is your greatest weapon. With education you are the white man’s equal, without education you are his victim and so shall remain all of your lives. Study, learn, help one another always. Remember there is only poverty and misery in idleness and dreams – but in work there is self respect and independence.”