“A wise Crow storyteller my grandfather once told me when I was young and full of youth the story of Earth boy and Star boy. This happened long ago many ancestors before my grandfather, when the people of the plains were like the buffalo many and free to roam where ever they wanted. This is before the white man came and killed the buffalo and the first people of the plains. It was before we became different tribes we were all one no Crow, no Arapaho, no Cheyenne, no Sioux, we were one tribe the people of the plains.
It was in a large plains village a woman who was very beautiful became with child and she gave life to two boys and they were twins, she was very sad because she did not know who the father of the twin boys were. But she did the best she could and nursed them from her bosom and raised them but she was sad and each night she would sing them to sleep with a sad song in hopes that their father would appear. All the people of the village listened each night to her sad heartbreaking song and all felt sorry for her and sent up prayers for her and the two boys.
One day the Great Spirit heard the peoples prayers and the beautiful woman’s sad songs and talked Mother Earth and Father sky and they decided to take each, one of the boys to raise as their own son and the boys names became Earth boy and Star boy. Once the boys got older they began to act different they no longer acted like twin brothers. Earth boy stopped hunting the buffalo unlike the other boys of the village and stayed very close to home under the willow trees on the banks of the Little Big Horn. He studied the rocks and plants and the soil near the river.
Star boy also became uninterested in hunting the buffalo unlike the other young warriors in the village. He moved far away from the buffalo and made a home for he liked to travel but most of all he liked to sleep all day and stay awake all night to watch the night heavens and study his star family in Father sky. One day while Star boy was traveling and he came across a tall, tall, Mountain. One of the tallest Mountain he had ever seen it was even taller than the Big Horns that lay to the south of what now is Crow country. Star Boy said to himself this mountain is so high no one has ever climbed it before but I know I can. So Star boy started his climb up the tall mountain. When he was almost to the heavens he grew tired and passed out and began to have a vision. In this vision a bright shining silver man with a long tail stood before star boy. The silver man was a comet and told Star boy that he was his father, before Star boy had been born he traveled far beyond this earth for powerful medicine and he would not be back past this mountain top again in Star boy’s lifetime.
The Man told Star boy that he wanted to give him a gift to show his love for Star boy his son. The gift was one of great power and would lift prayer up to the Great Spirit. It was as the colors of the sunset and sunrise. The plant would be a sacred plant and that Star boy should keep this plant with him where ever he traveled. He should plant it in the springtime and when it is beautiful and tall and the trees shed their leaves in fall he should harvest the sacred plant and prepare it for the sacred smoke. He told star boy to share with the people and it would lift their prayers, make them a strong people and they would be free. He said Star boy the people must be adopted into his family to share the sacred smoke of tobacco. Star boy’s father asked his son if he understood the importance of the sacred tobacco and Star boy shook his head yes. Just as he had appeared before him Star boy’s father the comet left with a streak across the sky.
Star boy got up from his vision and hurried down the mountain to find his brother Earth boy so that he could adopt him into his family and share this powerful medicine with him. He found his brother under the willow trees on the banks of the Big horn River and shared everything his father the comet had told him. His brother just laughed at him and said he did not need to travel many miles and climb tall mountains just to have a vision. Earth boy told him that while he was away he had a vision as well. Earth boy told his brother that his father, Earth had come to visit him and showed him some very powerful medicine and secretes that would make the people strong and free. Earth boy also told his brother that Star boy’s family could be mighty travelers and warriors and grow the sacred tobacco plant, but Earth boy’s family would become peaceful farmers settling down near the rivers and streams and grow everything except the tobacco plant. All that you will grow will be the tobacco plant.
Star boy was not mad at his brother for the vision he shared with him but took him by the hand and said My brother I and my family will follow the buffalo. We will become mighty warriors who will drive our enemies away, we will become strong as the eagle and free as the wind beneath its wings.
Earth boy then smiled and took his brother by the hand and said I and my family will become strong as the rock and settled as the sunrise and sunset. Earth boy brought his other hand into a fist and placed it over his heart and said to his brother Star boy. No matter how different our families become we must remember that we have the same mother and we are brothers. Your father has given you the sacred tobacco to grow and harvest and my father has given me the secrets of the powerful medicine pipe.
Then Earth boy picked up the Medicine pipe made of rock and the willow stem and placed it into his brothers hands. Then star boy filled it with the sacred tobacco given to him by his father the comet. Earth boy smiled and said, with your tobacco and my pipe we shall smoke and bring peace and harmony to both families and never shall we rise up against each other or fight.
After the two brothers smoked from the medicine piper Star boy left his brother and the people of the village, some of the people became adopted by Star boy and went with him they decided to name their family the Crow. Those who stayed behind to learn how to farm became known as the Hidatsa.
And this is how the people became different tribes but always remember the powerful medicine pipe and the sacred tobacco brings harmony to all of the Great Spirit’s children. It was the Sacred tobacco and the powerful pipe that kept Star boy and Earth boy’s families from becoming enemies all these moons or so as it was told to me by a wise Crow storyteller my grandfather.
Origin of Tobacco – Crow and Hidatsa
A long time ago the Indians roamed the West like the buffalo, one family scattered and returned by change. There were no separate tribes. One of the Indians was a woman of powerful beauty. She gave birth to twin sons, but she did not know who their father was. The beautiful woman sang her sons to sleep with a heartbreaking lullaby, and everyone who heard it took pity on her. Finally, the Earth agreed to claim the first son, and the stars took the second son as one of their own. From then on, the people called them Earthboy and Starboy.
When the boys were near manhood, they began to behave a little differently from their friends. Earthboy stopped following the buffalo everywhere and began to stay close beneath the willows of his home, searching for pretty rocks and carefully observing the slow growth of the plants. Starboy also grew lax in his hunting, but rather then staying at home he began to wander far beyond the buffalo. He slept during the days so that at night he could watch the travels of his star family.
One day Starboy’s wanderings brought him to the foot of the highest mountain. No one had climbed it before, but Starboy started the slow climb upward without hesitating. Somewhere near the sky, Starboy fainted. A shining silver man appeared to him.
The man was a star. He told Starboy that he was his father but that he spent his life traveling far beyond the earth, and he said he would not pass near the mountain again in his son’s lifetime.
“And so to show my love and concern for you, my son, I will give you a gift of great strength and colors of the sunset. Keep this plant with you wherever you wander, and in the springtime plant it everywhere you go. Tend the scarred beds, and harvest them when they are tall.” With these words, the star plunged his hands into his own silver chest. When he pulled them out again, they were full of tobacco.
He told Starboy that tobacco would make everyone in their family strong and free. To share the tobacco and its power, people must be adopted into Starboy’s family. Starboy listened carefully, but he was too overwhelmed to speak. he nodded his head gratefully, and his father burst away from him, back to the sky.
When Starboy came down from the mountains, he found his brother Earthboy, and offered to adopt him and share the tobacco.
Earthboy laughed, and said, “Brother, you don’t need to climb mountains to have visions. While you were gone, I met my father earth and he taught me some secrets of my own. Your family may become powerful wanders, but mine is going to become a family of peaceful farmers. We will grow everything except tobacco and you will grow nothing more.”
“I don’t want to grow anything more,” said Starboy, “I will follow the buffalo, and be strong as an eagle, and as free as wind.”
Earthboy smiled. “I will be strong as rock, my brother,” he said “and steady as sunrise. But no matter how different our families become, we will never quarrel. Your father has given you tobacco, and mine has given me the way of the Medicine Pipe. When we smoke together, your plant with my pipe, our fathers will give us peace and colors of the sunset.”
Earthboy brought forward a beautiful pipe made from the rock and willow of his home. Starboy filled it with tobacco from the heart of the star, and the brothers smoked together.
When Starboy left, some of the people went with him, hoping to be adopted into his family. Even before they learned the secrets of tobacco, the people who followed Starboy took a name, and called themselves the Crow.
The ones who stayed with Earthboy to learn to farm were called after the willows of their home, Hidatsa.
And so the people were divided into tribes, but the power of tobacco and the pipe kept them from becoming enemies.