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Counting Coup: Becoming a Crow Chief on the Reservation and Beyond
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Counting Coup: Becoming a Crow Chief on the Reservation and Beyond

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  69 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Picture a Crow Indian elder, his wizened eyes catching yours in the ancient flicker of firelight. His mesmerizing stories span the ages, from Custer to World War II to the 21st Century. He is the last traditional chief of his people. He is over 90 years old. Now picture that same man lecturing at colleges nationwide, and addressing the United Nations on the subject of peac ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published February 14th 2006 by National Geographic Children's Books
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Joseph Medicine Crow is an amazing man. His life hasn't been easy but he seems to be a positive man. He grows up surrounded by relatives. It's interesting to see that even though he is Native American he is also a Baptist. Joseph is very aware of his culture and practices his cultural customs. He grew up on the Crow Indian Reservation in the state of Montana. While growing up he went to Baptist and public schools. In school he was taunted and teased. He ended up going to an indian boarding schoo ...more
2008 American Indian Youth Literature Award Winner.

What I liked about this book was that it told the way of life for a child growing up on a reservation in the early 1900’s. It was nice to hear true accounts from a Native American viewpoint. Grant it, this gentleman was raised for greatness and the decedent of the tribal chief, rather than an average Native American child, it was still interesting to hear about his life.

It was very challenging to follow all of the people that he talked about. Th
Charming memoir for young people about growing up on the Crow reservation in the teens and twenties. When Medicine Crow was a boy, his maternal grandfather, Yellowtail, drilled him in many of the values and skills of pre-reservation Crow warrior culture, and this book concludes with an adult Joe Medicine Crow performing, during his WWII infantry service in Germany, the four combat deeds (counting coup on an enemy, taking another warrior's weapons, stealing a horse herd and leading a war party) n ...more
Apr 11, 2014 Amy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: memoir
This is a short memoir written by Joseph Medicine Crow about his life. I picked it up because my school district recently removed Part Time Diary from our supplemental list and is looking for a replacement. In comparison to Sherman Alexie's book and what it has to offer, this book doesn't measure up. However, it is an interesting account of his life and what he accomplished. It feels like it is written for a child, not young adults. Maybe it is because of the large font. I also felt like some of ...more
Counting Coup: Becoming a Crow Chief on the Reservation and Beyond, is an autobiographical account of the life of Joseph Medicine Crow. Through the years he has also been known by other names, Winter Man and High Bird. Joseph’s story begins by explaining that in order to be a Crow Chief, a person must count coup, or complete four war deeds. These deeds are completed by Medicine Crow while he is serving in WWII. Born in 1913, he also writes about his 90+ years on the Crow Reservation in the sout ...more
Opinion: This book was very hard to follow. The transitions are irregular, the stories jump around, and the amount of family members are hard to follow. The part I liked most was the information about his schooling and time in Germany as a soldier. It was nice to see him be successful in his journey. I felt it wasn't as depressing of an environment as The True Diary of a Part Time Indian. That's not to say, he didn't have obstacles to overcome, but he was an amazing person and focused the story ...more
Joseph Medicine Crow, a full member of the Crow nation, is one of the most famous American Indians of the past century. His honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom (which he got in 2009), and the Bronze Star (in 2008). He was even interviewed by famous historian Ken Burns for the World War II documentary The War (2007). In 2006, Joe Medicine Crow, as he is ‘officially known’, published his autobiography, Counting Coup, which begins with the amazing story of his walking barefoot through ...more
Some really great details & stories in here. Medicine Crow accomplished the four war deeds that make one a Crow chief, for ex, without consciously realizing it while fighting in WWII (the only Indian in his unit)--and first learned to use a bow & arrow and canoe as a summer camp counselor in New Hampshire. Many of his grandfathers were present at the battle of Little Big Horn, and he describes his elders’ transition to the reservation life imposed on them in their later years. Medicine C ...more
A beautiful peek into the life of a Crow reservation upbringing and how that influenced Joseph Medicine Crow to accomplish his chieftain status. The world needs more of this.
I just returned from South Dakota & loved learning about the Indians native to the area. This book is an autobiography by a Crow Indian with close ties to the famous Battle of the Little Bighorn. I enjoyed reading about his experience growing up in two cultures, Indian & white. It's a children's book that caught my eye at the library yesterday because of the "Counting Coup" in the title. I had just read another book written by an Indian about Crazy Horse and had learned that counting cou ...more
Scarlett Sims
I liked that this book showed a mix between cultures... the narrator, Joseph Medicine Crow grew up in a time when Crow culture was mixing with "American" or "white" culture. He compares his activity in WWII fighting the Germans to the way the Crow fought their enemies. There is also an element of Crow religion and folklore, and a sense of what "family" means in the Crow culture. I recently read an article by Cynthia Leitich Smith in which she was saying that Native American authors weren't as ti ...more
Tim Weidlich
I have lived near the Crow reservation for several years now and have had the privilege of talking with several Crow as they tell the stories of their ancestors. They are not perfect stories that finish with the hero winning, but they are stories of courage and bravery. As I read this book I recalled a ceremony at Chief Plenty Coup State Park and listening to the elders tell their stories. This was a good book for hearing the stories of one man who carried the traditions of his pre-reservation a ...more
This narrative by a 20th-century Crow chief left me wanting more. He describes his life on the reservation, at home and in school, and his experiences as a soldier in World War II. But he only touches the surface of his life and that of his people. (For example, he describes old warriors telling stories at his grandfather's home, but doesn't share any of these stories with his readers.) Still, this introduction to the Native experience in this latter time was valuable and the chief's voice stron ...more
Anja Manning
This award winning book just sounded too good to pass up, I just had to read it. The experiences and stories told by Chief Joe Medicine Man are historical and personal, and provide invaluable insight into Native American history and culture. The text reads as if it was related in the tradition of story-telling, and is easy to follow.

I think this book contains a lot that would make it appeal to middle school readers, especially boys, and kindle their interest in Native American culture.
It was very interesting to see how rites, such as becoming a Crow chief, have changed throughout the course of history. Although it is still a great honor to be considered for a rank such as chief, the process is much less life-threatening today as opposed to earlier times when there was inter-tribal warfare. This is a great biography that will introduce students to many Native American customs that are portrayed in an authentic voice.
I saw this on National Geographic Kids:
Told very simply, but you get a good impression of his life, and also the lives of his grandfathers before the reservations. Would make a great novel. I love the descriptions of how the kids would play.
Luke Herbst
Life story of War Chief Joseph Medicine Crow from childhood to is time in WWII as an infantry soldier. Gives great background information about the Crow culture and their beliefs. Mentions his time in a boarding school and how he became a war chief. Written by Joseph Medicine Crow.
A bit disjointed in the storytelling style, but full of interesting insights into the culture of the Crow tribe, both pre- and post-reservation, with reflections on the stories of his grandparents and other elders, as well as his own experiences.
An awesome life tale of an amazing man, Joseph Medicine Crow. This book won the American Indian Library Association award in 2008.
Winner of American Indian Youth Literature Award

The autobiography of Joseph Medicine Crow.

American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Middle School Book (2008)
2008 American Indian Youth literature Award winner for middle grades
lézengő reader
too short =)
(a magyar fordító pedig néhol határozottan szarjon sünt)
1 Samuel S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cary Roller
Cary Roller marked it as to-read
Nov 13, 2015
Michael is currently reading it
Nov 07, 2015
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