Joe Medicine Crow’s Dedication to Freedom and What This Means to Me

Plains Indians won honor by counting “coups,” or acts of bravery in battle. The most illustrious coup was to touch an enemy and escape unharmed — something that Medicine Crow wasn’t intending to do when he helped raid a German village.
Photo is an excerpt from Jay Hemmings (2018) “Joe Medicine Crow: Last War Chief Of The Crow Nation & Last Ever War Chief Of The Plains Indians.” The photo was picked as a resemblance of Americanism through the American Legion symbol marked on the podium. This article resonates as an archive branding usage with trademark protections through the Nation Command of the American Legion. Crow’s dedication in combat is a mark of tribal veterans and their efforts to recognize Americanism as the culture and mark of all members of the American Legion shown in his photograph. Do note the VFW cross as well. I also archive for the VFW as well as a member.

by Brad Burt

As we approach Memorial Day 2019, I would like to take a moment to recognize a member of the Armed Forces I became acquainted with as I was searching through the Wisconsin State Historical Society investigating tribal veterans who have gone above and beyond the call. After spending time researching the ways of the Lakota, I decided in September of 2018, I was going to open a Native Veteran Artifact Museum due to the overwhelming colonial artifacts at the Wisconsin State Veterans Museum lacking Native Veteran recognition. My archiving has begun and am looking to honor and dedicate a welcome center in Madison, WI for our members at OutPost 422. Our archives tell the truth of the Native American Veteran heritage story.

My journey began when I was first introduced to the Sundance Ceremony of the Native American Sacrament of Peyotism for my Anthropology final paper. Researching tribal history has helped me develop a deeper, broader, and enlightened perspective as to why Joe Medicine Crow’s War Chief accomplishment helped win World War 2. My favorite of the tasks assigned to a young member of the U.S. Army 103rd Infantry Division was a special mission to steal a horse from the enemy.

I imagine his determination to serve his people as nothing short of divine. One thing I have grown fond of with tribal veteran research is the extra effort a Native American warrior puts into their service. They walk the divine walk and have absolute ground-zero relentless determination and guts. The amount of guts that went into stealing a Nazi horse goes against the grain of a respectable individual in a egalitarian structured system. Crow received his blessing and went against all he was taught on the premise of just cause. War Chief Crow exemplifies honor.

One thing I admire about my tribal veteran friends from the United States reservations is their dedication to honor, integrity, and dignity. War Chief Joe Medicine Crow did not do this to receive awards like the garden variety suburban concrete warrior does. He did this to protect the future of his people. Stealing a horse and completing his mission was his divine pathway to honor, which is the main takeaway I have received through my Anthropological lens.

Writing editorials has developed my understanding of heritage of the Sundance Ceremony and the Longhouse Religion archiving I unearthed with Handsome Lake is where my love for journalism began. Our Native American Sacred Warriors are of high honor and ask we take a moment this Memorial Day to say grace and ask our Higher Power to bless the families of those who have troops deployed from reservations. I also ask we send up prayers to keep safe watch over their sons and daughters who are deployed.

Memorial Day is a time of reflection. I certainly hope we can reflect on the greater good of the will of the divine as a token of solitude amongst or veteran community. Our Americanism commission starts when we take time to include and invite all those who served to come to the harvest feast of honor on this blessed Memorial Day.

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