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

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  87 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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Oct 10, 2011 529_Gary rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 06, 2011 Crista rated it really liked it
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
Mar 15, 2016 Andrea rated it liked it
Counting Coop takes us on a journey through the life of Joseph Medicine Crow, who was born on the Montana Crow Reservation in 1913. He was given the name, Winter Man, in hopes that he would overcome adversity and be strong throughout life and battle. His grandfather, Yellowtail, started training him to become a warrior at the young age of six. Medicine Crow takes us through his life experiences, ranging from his hardships at boarding school, the proud moment he graduated from college, to his her ...more
Apr 11, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it
This was a quick read but fascinating. Joe Medicine Crow is a great storyteller and lived a rich life, straddling two cultures...the Crow and the white man's world. He was highly educated (despite poor early education) and served as a soldier in World War II. He is a stroyteller, anthropologist, a historian and seems like a wise man. It was interesting to read about his family relationships and the way his grandparents treated him (which we would consider abuse in some instances but which he sou ...more
Apr 11, 2014 Amy rated it it was ok
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
Apr 04, 2016 James rated it really liked it
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
Oct 11, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: native-american
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
Oct 11, 2011 528_Kristin rated it it was ok
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
May 01, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it
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
Aug 12, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-nonfiction
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.
Mar 22, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it
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
May 23, 2009 Janis rated it liked it
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
Jan 06, 2013 Anja Manning rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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.
Nov 07, 2012 Simon rated it it was amazing
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
May 09, 2013 Luke Herbst rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
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.
Feb 26, 2010 Theresa rated it it was amazing
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)
Apr 29, 2008 kelly rated it really liked it
2008 American Indian Youth literature Award winner for middle grades
lézengő reader
Mar 15, 2012 lézengő reader rated it it was amazing
too short =)
(a magyar fordító pedig néhol határozottan szarjon sünt)
1 Samuel S
Oct 09, 2012 1 Samuel S rated it did not like it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Adrian Crawford
Adrian Crawford marked it as to-read
Jun 17, 2016
Krista marked it as to-read
Jun 16, 2016
Megan Pratola
Megan Pratola is currently reading it
Jun 06, 2016
ZenPanda rated it it was amazing
Jun 03, 2016
Lark rated it really liked it
May 23, 2016
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Joseph Medicine Crow-High Bird was a Crow historian, author and an enrolled member of the Crow Nation of Native Americans. He was the last war chief of the Crow Tribe. His best known writings on Native American history concern the Battle of the Little Bighorn. He earned both a bachelor’s degree and master degree before 1939. He receive three honorary doctorates. Medicine Crow received the United S ...more
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