2009-07-15 / Headlines

Michael He Crow Artist During Free Weekend

HARRISON, NE - Michael He Crow, Miniconju Lakota/Apache, was raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Michael's family was instrumental in shaping his passion for Lakota history and tools. His father, Francis He Crow, a direct descendant of Chief Big Foot, taught him at an early age how to craft his first bow. This sparked an interest in the Lakota tradition of creating functional artwork. He Crow will be at the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument visitor center during the weekend of July 17th through July 19th, which happens to be the second fee free weekend of the summer on Saturday and Sunday, July 18th and 19th.

Traditionally, Lakota artwork consists of functional items that are then decorated to reflect events, visions, ceremonies, or battles. Michael's artwork is based on these principles. It is reflected in his hand carved bows, chokecherry arrows, traditionally flintknapped arrowheads, and his beautiful Lakota courting flutes made from cedar.

He Crow taught himself to work obsidian, chert, and Knife River flint and is unique among flintknappers in using only antler and rock to complete authentic pieces. Michael finds straight chokecherry branches on his grandfather's land in Oglala, South Dakota and using sinew and hide glue, he fastens his arrowheads to branches that have been heated and straightened. He then paints a design with earth paint and attaches turkey tail feathers. The arrows are replicated in great detail using books and museum pieces as guides. Such arrows are functional, and can either be used for hunting, or displayed as pieces of art.

Hearing the Lakota story of the woodpecker bringing the flute to the People sparked He Crow's interest in flute making. He started with a diagram of measurements and crafted his own style of flutes with a deep rich sound. Michael enjoys playing traditional Lakota love songs. In addition to crafting bows, arrowheads and flutes, he also makes parfleche storage bags, moccasins, spears, tomahawks, knife points, quill and bead jewelry, and brain tanned hides.

Please call ahead (308668-2211) to confirm dates.

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is located 22 miles south of Harrison, Nebraska, or 34 miles north of Mitchell, Nebraska on State Highway 29. The visitor center is open from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The walking trails are open from dawn until dusk.

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