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Robert Yellowtail, Crow Negotiator

Page history last edited by Marcella Walter 6 years, 5 months ago

Finished in 1965, Yellowtail Dam was named for Crow Tribal leader Robert Yellowtail (1889-1988).  Ironically, Yellowtail had emphatically opposed the construction of the Dam.  While Big Horn Lake and Yellowtail Dam are multi-purpose developments focusing on recreation, flood control, irrigation and power production, the lake waters covered Big Horn Canyon, second only to the Grand Canyon in depth and breadth and sacred to the Crow.  Yellowtail devoted his life to advocating for Crow voting and financial rights--for taking stands on behalf of his people.  Research and consider HOW he took those stands--the personal qualities and goals he invested.  Patience and compromise, for instance, may be very important.


Secondary Sources


Benson, Megan, “The Fight for Crow Water Part I, The Early Reservation Years Through the Indian New Deal,” Montana The Magazine of Western History Winter Vol 57, No. 4 (Winter 2007): 24-42 and “The Fight for Crow Water Part II, Damming the Big Horn,” pp. 3-23, Montana The Magazine of Western History Vol. 58., No. 1 (Spring 2008): 3-23 


Frederick E Hoxie and Tim Bernardis, "Robert Yellowtail, Crow" in The New Warriors: Native American Leaders since 1900, ed. R. David Edmunds, (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001): 55-78. 


Hoxie, Frederick E., Parading through History: The Making of the Crow Nation in America, 1805-1935, (Cambridge University Press, 1995)


Bauch, Jerry, Children of the Large Beaked Bird: History and Culture of the Crow Nation, self published, 2002


Old Coyote, Lloyd and Helene Smith, Apsaalooka: The Crow Nation Then and Now, MacDonal/Sward Publishing Company, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, 1993.


Primary Sources at the Montana Historical Society 


Robert Yellowtail speeches, 1936-1957SC 991. (This collection consists of a speech (1936), presented to the National Emergency Council at Billings, concerning the impact of federal relief for the Crow tribe; and a speech (1957), given before the United States Senate and House Interior Committees, arguing against the construction of the proposed Yellowtail Dam on Crow tribal land.) 


Primary and Secondary Sources on the Internet


Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area: http://www.nps.gov/bica/index.htm

National Park Service Yellowtail Dam site:   http://www.nps.gov/bica/historyculture/yellowtail-dam.htm

About the Crow--History--Robert Yellowtail: http://lib.lbhc.cc.mt.us/about/history/ryellowt.php


Vertical Files at the Montana Historical Society


Big Horn River Canyon

Yellowtail, Robert

Yellowtail Dam 1 and 2




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