Plenty Coops – Native American Chief
In Crow called Alaxchiiaahush / Alaxchíia Ahú (″Many War Achievements″), he is better known by his English name as Plenty Coups. (1848 – 1932) was the Ashbacheeítche (″Chief Of The Camp″, band chief) of the Mountain Crow Band) of the Crow Nation (Apsáalooke), a visionary leader, and a great diplomat.
Plenty Coups had also experienced a vision when he was very young that non-Native American people would ultimately take control of his homeland (Montana), so he always felt that cooperation would benefit his people much more than opposition. He very much wanted the Crow to survive as a people and their customs and spiritual beliefs to carry on. His efforts on their behalf ensured that this happened, and he led his people peacefully into the 20th century.
One of his famous quotes is: “Education is your greatest weapon. With education you are the white man’s equal, without education you are his victim and so shall remain all of your lives. Study, learn, help one another always. Remember there is only poverty and misery in idleness and dreams – but in work there is self respect and independence.” Chief Plenty Coups became a chief at the age of twenty-nine; he is the last chief who was elected a chief by other chiefs.
Early in his life, Plenty Coups started having prophetic dreams and visions. Many seemed so far-fetched that no one believed them, but when they started coming true, his fellow tribe members began to revere him and listened to him carefully.
Plenty Coups told about his trip to Washington in 1880 “ The travel east was by Fast Wagon or train. It was described as “a big black horse with his belly nearly touching the ground”.
Chief Plenty Coups was selected as the sole representative of Native Americans for the dedication of the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier and gave a short speech in his native tongue in honor of the soldier and the occasion. He placed his war-bonnet and coup stick upon the tomb, and they are preserved in a display case there.