Each year on the third weekend in August in Montana USA, the Crow Fair begins. The Fair, which has been going for over 100 years (2019), is a reunion of the Crow people and a celebration of their music, dance and culture.1
In 1992 during the Crow Fair, the Brown family from Taree were adopted into the Al and Ruby Big Hair family. The two families had met in 1990 when watching a re-enactment of Custer’s last stand along the banks of the Little Bighorn River. They corresponded over the intervening two years and when they met again the Browns were officially adopted into the Big Hair family.
Part of the adoption included gift giving. The Big Hairs gave each of the Brown daughters a shawl and the son a beaded belt buckle. Parents Steve and Rhonda received a star quilt. The Browns reciprocated by presenting the Big Hairs with gifts from the Biripi people including locally-made arts, echidna quill jewellery and a boomerang. Rhonda gave Ruby some of her needlework and Steve gave Al some kangaroo hides for drum skins.
The Crow Fair site is known as the ‘Tepee capital of the world’ and the Browns stayed in a tepee. During the festival they learnt some Crow words, sign language, bead work and traditional stories. This experience has had a lasting impact on the Brown family who still correspond with the Big Hair family today.2
Author: Janine Roberts