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Crowheart Butte

The sign for the Crowheart Butte. (Wikipedia)

This fabled butte is quite real, and rises up out of the landscape in the Wind River Valley, just northeast of Crowheart, Wyoming. It can be seen for miles, taking on the look of a pyramid, with a shaved-off top. This landmark on the Wind River Indian Reservation is most-unique, and comes by its name from the historic battle that was fought on its small mesa.

Crowheart Butte was where a four-day battle had raged at its base in 1866. It was here where the Shoshones and Bannocks fought the Crows over hunting rights on the lands. As it was, the Crows had been given the valley in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851. The Shoshones and Bannocks were given the valley in the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1863. Now, three years later, the Nations went to war. And after four bloody days of battle, there was a stalemate. And it was then that the enemies agreed to one final battle, a one-on-one, man-on-man, fight to the death. And the two warriors in this final showdown would be two Chiefs. Shoshone Chief Washakie and Crow Chief Big Robber fought to the death that day on Crowheart Butte.

But why Crowheart Butte? Why was it named Crowheart Butte? Well, after a fierce hand-to-hand fight, it was Chief Washakie who was the victor. And the story goes that the victorious Shoshone Chief and warrior removed the heart of his foe and displayed it on his lance. Hence, the name Crowheart Butte.

Crowheart Butte is still a sacred sight to many locals, to this day used as a place of spiritual renewal for young men on a vision quest. And non-Indians are legally forbidden to climb Crowheart Butte.

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