Joe Medicine Crow
Joe Medicine Crow

Joe Medicine Crow

Dr. Joe Medicine Crow is the former Crow Tribal Historian and the oldest living man of the Crow tribe. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the U.S.A.’s highest civilian honor) from President Barack Obama on August 12, 2009 at a ceremony at the White House. In 1939, he was the first member of the Crow tribe to obtain a master’s degree. His Master’s thesis, “The Effects of European Culture Contact upon the Economic, Social, and Religious Life of the Crow Indians”, remains the most widely read source on Crow culture. Medicine Crow is the last traditional Plains war chief, having achieved the war deeds necessary to be declared a “chief” during World War II. He served in Europe, and earned the Bronze Star. Medicine Crow was also honored for his service to France during World War II when he received the National Order of the Legion of Honor from the French government on June 25, 2008. He was recognized for leading a war party that, under fire, retrieved dynamite to use to attack German guns. He also overcame a German soldier in hand-to-hand combat on a street in France (sparing his life), and captured fifty SS horses at a farm where German officers were staying. Joe Medicine Crow has also been nominated for the Congressional Gold Medal. Interviews with Dr. Medicince Crow were included in the 2007 Ken Burns PBS series “The War.” In those interviews, he describes some of his World War II experiences.

For his war deeds and “contributions to the preservation of the culture and history of the First Americans” and his “importance as a role model to young Native Americans across the country,” and other services to America, Joe Medicine Crow received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, on August 12, 2009.

Dr. Medicine Crow is a guest speaker at Little Bighorn College, the Custer Battlefield Museum, and several other colleges throughout the nation. Also an author, his books include, A Handbook of Crow Indian Laws and Treaties, and From the Heart of the Crow Country. He lives on the Crow Reservation in Lodge Grass, Montana.

Dr. Medicine Crow’s contributions to Wisdom Tales books include:

  • The “Foreword” in Custer’s Last Battle
  • The “Introduction” in All our Relatives
  • The “Introduction” in Native Spirit: The Sun Dance Way
  • An interview in Native Spirit and the Sun Dance Way (DVD)
  • The “Foreword” in The Image Taker: The Selected Stories and Photographs of Edward S. Curtis
  • The “Foreword” in Earth Made New: Plains Indian Stories of Creation
  • In Living in Two Worlds: The American Indian Experience, Joe Medicine Crow is featured in the section “Contemporary Voices.”