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date: 02 March 2021


  • Tim Bernardis


Arapoosh (1789/1794?–1834), Crow Indian chief, whose name is Eelápuash in modern Crow language orthography or Sore Belly (often mistranslated in historical accounts as Rotten Belly) in English, was a River Crow chief well known to early white trappers and traders. Many details of his life are unknown. Described as a fine tall man, Arapoosh as a youth had fasted in the Crazy Mountains in what is now Montana, where he received his medicine (spiritual power), the thunder. The Thunderbird appeared to him in a vision and showed him how to lead a war party as well as how to make war medicine so his trail would be clear. It may have been after this vision that he made his shield, or he may have been given the shield during a vision of the moon on another fast. This shield is said to have had powers of prophecy that aided him in battle. It was used long after his death, even into the reservation period. Eventually it was purchased and placed in a Chicago museum....

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