Chief Plenty Coups
During the summer of 2018 one of my stops with the Western Writers of America was Chief Plenty Coups State Park. There I met Park Manager Aaron Kind who was so respectful of the artifacts located in the basement and so knowledgeable of the life of Chief Plenty Coups and the history of the land that Chief Plenty Coups donated to the State of Montana.
The last chief of the Crow Nation, Chief Plenty Coups experienced a vision when he was very young that non-Native American people would ultimately take control of his homeland (Montana), so he always felt that cooperation would benefit his people much more than opposition. He very much wanted the Crow to survive as a people and their customs and spiritual beliefs to carry on. His efforts on their behalf ensured that this happened, and he led his people peacefully into the 20th century.
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.”