Less than 150 years ago, the Crow Tribe of Indians, like all Indian Tribes in the west, had their world as they knew it, ripped from them in less than 20 years. They lost their land that held the bones of their ancestors; their sacred buffalo that aided and sustained them; and they lost many of their people to the devastation of rampant diseases brought to the west by settlers. They were forced to depend upon Government rations and to learn a completely new and unfamiliar way of life. They were forbidden to speak their language and perform their ancestral and sacred ceremonies. Their children were taken from them to boarding schools intended to “kill the Indian and save the man.” In a single generation, their world was no longer recognizable to them.
The story of these historical processes, long denied by our institutional national memory, is kept sacred within the descendants of those generations. Their great, great grandchildren carry this legacy in the reservation system created through this historical tumult, a legacy which manifests in a myriad of ills within Tribal communities across the west. But the history of this devastation is slowly fading through the lens of time and is destined to be lost all together, if these stories are not captured and documented.
In 2012, The Extreme History Project, a non-profit public history organization, obtained a grant from the Montana Department of Transportation to conduct formal oral history interviews with five Tribal descendants to begin to document the stories of this devastating time period. These interviews were professionally filmed and photographed by videographer Adam Sings In the Timber, then transcribed by our generous team of volunteers. A packet of the DVD, audio CD, and printed transcription of each interview is currently being finalized and will be distributed for free to each participant and to the tribe through the tribal administration, Little Big Horn College and Plenty Coups State Park and Museum on the Crow Reservation. Other packets will go to the Western Heritage Center in Billings, Montana State University in Bozeman and the Montana Historical Society in Helena. We will also make these interviews available and freely accessible online through our website at www.extremehistory.wordpress.com.
However, there is much more work to do. We have recently received another grant from Humanities Montana to continue the project with eight more interviews. Though generous, the grant fell short of what we needed to complete these histories. This is where you come in. Your donation to this project will insure that this history is documented and shared so that we all can learn how these historical processes have affected the lives of the subsequent generations that have followed in their wake. More importantly, though, the Crow tribe will have this history archived and available for future generations to understand this history. Once revealed, this history can no longer be denied. We thank you for your generous support.
Risks and challenges
Certainly there are risks and challenges to completing any project. We had a few unexpected delays with our first round. We have learned a great deal from the first series and feel fully prepared and equipped to deal with any contingencies that may arrise. We have already set our filming dates and are in the process of scheduling the interviews. We have a team of professionals in place to insure the timely completion of filming and editing. Our team of volunteers is prepared and experienced at transcribing the interviews, the formatting has been established and the packaging for the final product is designed and prepared for printing. We are fully confident that this series of oral histories will be completed and made available to the public by the Spring of 2014. You can learn more about us and our team at http://extremehistory.wordpress.com/about/Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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