Crow Christianity speaks in many voices, and in the pages of Crow Jesus, these voices tell a complex story of Christian faith and Native tradition combining and reshaping each other to create a new and richly varied religious identity. In this collection of narratives, fifteen members of the Apsáalooke (Crow) Nation in southeastern Montana and three non-Native missionaries to the reservation describe how Christianity has shaped their lives, their families, and their community through the years.
Among the speakers are elders and young people, women and men, pastors and laypeople, devout traditionalists and skeptics of the indigenous cultural way. Taken together, the narratives reveal the startling variety and sharp contradictions that exist in Native Christian devotion among Crows today, from Pentecostal Peyotists to Sun-Dancing Catholics to tongues-speaking Baptists in the sweat lodge. Editor Mark Clatterbuck also offers a historical overview of Christianity’s arrival, growth, and ongoing influence in Crow Country, with special attention to Christianity’s relationship to traditional ceremonies and indigenous ways of seeing the world.
In Crow Jesus, Clatterbuck explores contemporary Native Christianity by listening as indigenous voices narrate their own stories on their own terms. His collection tells the larger story of a tribe that has adopted Christian beliefs and practices in such a way that simple, unqualified designations of religious belonging—whether “Christian” or “Sun Dancer” or “Peyotist”—are seldom, if ever, adequate.