Posted: May 1, 2013 8:10 PM by Victoria Fregoso - MTN News
CROW INDIAN RESERVATION - Plans to gain back land that once belonged to the Crow Tribe are finally becoming a reality. The Crow Tribe flag is proudly posted on 1,933 acres of land southeast of Billings. It was recently purchased at auction. "We've gained part of our reservation back and we will continue doing so," said Crow Tribe Chairman Darrin Old Coyote. "That's why elders are excited to be here, because it's a historic day for them to see lands back in tribal hands."
Like many other pieces of land that once belonged to the tribe, it was sold to non-native ranchers. Previously owned by horse breeder James Leachman and given the name of the Hairpin Cavvy Ranch, this land is now known as Arrow Creek. "It's a good feeling," said tribal member Robert Old Horn. "As we look off over this great country, we have the mountains, we have all this rangeland, we have farmlands. Then underneath all that is a lot of minerals."
The name "Arrow Creek" is the original name of the creek that runs just below the ranch. Over the years it has become known as "Pryor Creek."
Plans to buy back tribal land began under the administration of the late Carl Venne. At that time, current Chairman Darrin Old Coyote was serving as Vice Secretary. Today, he is able to carry out Venne's dream. Plans include establishing trails, upgrading facilities and the possibility of introducing buffalo to the land. "For now it's going to be a destination for tourists. We've already talked to international markets as far as tourism goes," Chairman Old Coyote said. "We are going to showcase our unique culture, our way of life."
Since the 1800's, the amount of land owned by the Crow Tribe has reduced by 30 million acres. This newly acquired land is just a small fraction of that, but the tribe sees it as a source of revenue and job creation.