PRYOR — Crow Chief Plenty Coups died in 1932 and left a legacy of the wisdom of peace and education.
People both on and off the reservation celebrated on his land during the 25th annual Day of Honor at Chief Plenty Coups State Park on Saturday.
“Chief Plenty Coups was the last traditional chief for the Crow,” said Aaron Kind, manager of Chief Plenty Coups State Park. "He was the transition chief. He was born in buffalo days and passed away in reservation days. And part of his vision was helping his people adjust to a new way of life.”
“It’s not just to honor a chief,” said Mark Bruised Head, a Crow Tribal member and maintenance man at the park. “But to honor the crow culture and the plains Indian as a whole.”
Just outside the chief’s front door, about 25 yards on down is the sacred spring.
And about a football field or two away from the spring and the home is an orchard.
Some of the trees are still up and these are apple trees planted by chief Plenty Coups.
“We have two species of these apples here,” said Kind. “There’s Chief Plenty Coups Wealthy and Chief Plenty Coups Duchess of Oldenburg. You can go and reach one and pick it off the tree and taste the same apple that a hundred years that the chief would’ve been reaching up and taking down.”
The Chief wanted to pass on the ideas of peace and education.
“His famous quote with education is be educated,” said Bruised Head. “You’ll always be an equal. If you’re not educated, you’ll always be subservient or not be able to be on the same playing field.”
“His message was meant for everybody,” Bruised Head said. “It was meant for the world. This park was meant for the world, he gave it to the people.”
“The fact that it’s been going for 25 years, it’s expected and looked forward to every year,” said Kind.
“And they were probably pretty surprised that they made it to 25 years ago,” Bruised Head said. “We’re still here. I think we’re here to stay.”
Chief Plenty Coups used to bring the people together on the land, also to celebrate the end of summer and the harvest.