The 103rd Crow fair celebration starts on Thursday, August 18, on the Crow Indian Reservation south of Hardin, Montana. The weekend-long event is one of the biggest powwows in the United States and the largest Native American celebration in Montana.
Tribes from areas like Minnesota, Oklahoma, Washington, Swsakethcan, and other parts of Canada come to celebrate this fantastic event.
Shawn Backbone is the powwow manager for the 2022 Crow Fair and says more than 1500 tipis go up yearly for the event. Backbone also says the fair originated in 1904 by the government, where tribal members would bring their crops and vegetables to show. Since then, the fair has developed into highlighting Native American culture with Indian relay races, dancing, and rodeos.
Backbone says his favorite part of the fair is camping in a tipi, eating breakfast outside, and watching the powwows and parade.
The Crow fair attracts over 50,000 people worldwide and is known as the largest tipi encampment in the world, with cultural activities all weekend long. A daily parade at 10 am Friday through Sunday features heirlooms given to tribal members more than 200 years ago. Backbone says there is about 20 million dollars worth of beadwork at the parade. Crow fair royalty will also be present at the celebration.
On top of the daily parade, there is also a powwow contest Friday through Sunday where dancers come from all over the world to perform, and it is open to the public. About a mile away from the fairgrounds will be a rodeo, horse race, and Indian relay that coincides with the celebration and starts daily at 2:00 pm.
There is also a parade dance on Monday, August 22, that pays homage to their ancestors.
“Since we were plains Indians, we camped, and when we removed the camp and went to the next, we always had a parade dance for the next good encampment, so we do that ceremony as well. It’s pretty nice to see,” Backbone says.
Admission to the celebration is free, but Backbone says souvenir programs show everything happening at the fair available for purchase to support the cause. The Crow fair starts on August 18 and goes until August 23. Enjoy delicious food from the crow tribe and see rich Native American heritage, culture, and traditions at this year’s Crow Fair!