Nature and American Indian Names from the Crow Census Database

Fazila Derya Agis, University of the People

This study aims to compare the changes in the women’s names and men’s names alongside their family duties, occupations, family sizes, ages, marital statuses, and dwelling types in the Crow tribe in Montana from 1185 through 1930. The use of metaphorical animals and their meanings in relation to the social statuses of American Indian women will be confronted with those of American Indian men. Concisely, this study intends to show how a database proves the social importance of American Indian women based on the concept of motherhood of nature in the Crow tribe. Some women could have been called “Rain Bird,” “Red Breasted Bird,” or “Birdie Overground” until the 1930s during which American Indian women were usually called with a first name and a surname. The historical changes in the education level, household ranges, child numbers, and the marital statuses of Crow women will be analyzed in relation with their social statuses from 1885 through 1930. These statistical analyses will explain the changes in the roles of single and married women within the Crow tribe from 1885 through 1930 and why they were given the names of animals. This study will prove that some animals were symbols of (a) authority/respect, (b) love, (c) friendship, (d) motherhood, and/or (e) societal divides. These names will reveal the importance of nature for the Crow tribe.

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 Presented in Session 192. Data, Sources, and New Insights on Women’s Lives