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The Last Crow War Chief honored



He's known as The Last Crow War Chief and Wednesday in Garryowen, Dr. Joe Medicine Crow was honored by another nation for his efforts during World War Two.

Dr. Joe Medicine Crow had a proud day Wednesday as all of his efforts during World War Two were rewarded.  He attracted quite a crowd as he received the highest honor from a European country.

More than six decades ago, Doctor Joe Medicine Crow served our country in World War Two.  And Wednesday the nation of France came to acknowledge, honor, and thank Crow for his actions as a foot soldier. 

Pierre Francois Mourier, Consul General of France, says, "It's a moment of emotion.  I think really for I would say almost for three countries, because the crow nation is a sovereign nation as you know.  And it's certainly a moment of emotion for me and for France."

France honored Crow with the French Foreign Legion's highest award of five levels, The Knight of the Legion of Honor.  With a French great-grandfather, Crow is relieved that his French ancestry was exposed in such a positive light.

Medicine Crow says, "My remote French connection has finally come out in the open in a splendid way."

Involved in dangerous missions behind enemy lines, Crow met four requirements to become a crow war chief.  One of which included stealing an enemy horse, he looks back on that memory and laughs.

"I enjoyed being on horse back, you know, being a farm boy.  Riding a good, fancy horse, so I sang an Indian-cowboy song and had a good time." says Medicine Crow.

Regardless of his 94 years, Crow is still pretty quick and witty.

"As a foot soldier I walked all the way from France to Paris.  That's a long walk." says Medicine Crow.

And he definitely left a big impression on the French.

Mourier says, "There is a certain atmosphere surrounding Mr. Crow which is totally surreal actually.  He's bigger than life, really."

Medicine Crow was also presented with the Bronze Star, a military decoration awarded for meritorious service.

  Known as the Last Crow War Chief, World War II veteran, Dr. Joe Medicine Crow served 79 days on the front lines without injury. 

Today he will receive the Knight of the Legion of Honor, the highest honor from the nation of France, after completing four war deeds, including hand to hand battle with an enemy. 

The 94 year-old is receiving his award this morning at the Custer Battlefield in Garryowen. 

KTVQ's Angela Douglas was at the event and will have the full story tonight at 5:30.

He's known as the last Crow War Chief and now just announced Wednesday, tribal historian and World War Two veteran Doctor Joe Medicine Crow is set to receive the highest honor from the nation of France.

To the Bureau of Indian Affairs he's Joseph Medicine Crow.  But to the Crow Indians, he's High Bird.

He's the grandson of Chief Medicine Crow, a scout for General George Custer.

But Joe is known in his own right as the last Crow War Chief after completing the four war deeds during service in World War II.

"I was an infantryman- foot soldier. So I started walking. I walked all over Europe." says Medicine Crow

One of those deeds - hand to hand battle with an enemy. It is referred to as ‘Counting Coup'.

Medicine Crow tells Montana's News Station about the experience. "I was choking him to death and the last word he was able to say was, "Momma, momma."  And when he said those words my ears popped.  And I let him go." 

Earlier this spring he was nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A credit he attributes to the Crow Warrior training he received as a child.

"I was on the front lines 79 days- bullets flying all over- bombs flying here and there, and I never got a scratch so I was lucky.  And also I like to think that I had a good medicine so they say." 

Later this month Medicine Crow will finally receive the bronze star on top of that he's being recognized with the French Foreign Legion's highest award - the Knight of the Legion of Honor. That sparked Medicine Crow to fess up one other note about his family history. His great grandfather was a Frenchman.

"I'm kind of pleased about that that my French connection has finally come out in the open in a grand way."    

Not bad for a 94 year old veteran who still drives himself to town.

Medicine Crow will receive his medals during a ceremony at the Custer Battlefield Museum in Garryowen on June 25th.

-Aaron Flint reporting from KTVQ in Billings

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