Posted: Dec 4, 2012 8:25 AM by Drew Trafton - MTN News
CROW AGENCY - The Crow Tribe now has a new chairman following the inauguration of Darrin Old Coyote in a ceremony held at the Apsaalooke Center in Crow Agency Monday afternoon.
The ceremony was the culmination of a three-day event, but was pushed back an hour from a scheduled 12:30 p.m. start time after Crow Chief Judge Julie Yarlott's son was injured by a horse during the parade that immediately preceded the ceremony.
Yarlott, the only member of the Crow Tribe judicial branch allowed to administer the oath of office to elected tribal officials, tended to her son (who was taken to a Billings hospital for treatment) before arriving at the inauguration ceremony.
The ceremony itself was well attended by members of the Crow Tribe, Yellowstone and Big Horn County commissioners, various other local government officials and representatives from Montana's congressional delegation.
The ceremony began with the entrance of the officers elect, their spouses and tribal dignitaries to the singing of various Crow Warrior Homecoming songs performed by Black Whistle and other musicians.
Following the welcoming to the stage, the Crow Nation Flag Song was performed by Black Whistle and the national anthem was sung by Vestal Black Smith.
Father Jim Antoine from Our Lady of Loretto Parish gave the invocation, reading an excerpt from the Old Testament and telling of an experience he had with Old Coyote.
Antoine said the two men were praying together several years back when Antoine saw a vision of an eagle feather fall from the sky and land in Old Coyote's hand.
Antoine told those in attendance he believed this was a sign from God indicating Old Coyotes future leadership role within the Crow Nation.
Following the invocation, the three other executive officer positions were filled in the Crow Tribe as Shawn Backbone took the oath of office to become the new vice-secretary of the Crow Tribe, followed by Alvin Not Afraid, Jr. who was sworn in as the secretary of the Crow Tribe.
Next, Yarlott administered the oath of office to Dana Wilson, who became the vice-chairman of the Crow Tribe.
Following the first three officers assuming office, a young girl named Jerrika Birdinground took the stage and said a prayer using the Crow language for the new leaders of the tribe.
Old Coyote then took his oath of office, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation following wrapping up his oath with the words, "So help me, God."
The applause continued throughout each of the executives' acceptance speeches.
However, the loudest applause was reserved for when Old Coyote stepped up to the podium.
"For with the wisdom of past generations, the knowledge of our educated youth, and the courage of our current generation, who has assumed the symbolic staff of leadership among our people, we the Apsaalooke can make that negative change of the past disappear," said Old Coyote. "We have taken a great responsibility. A challenge we may not finish in this administration, but today we must begin."
Old Coyote's speech, reflected through the décor and other speakers of the inauguration, focused on two words: positive change.
Old Coyote told the crowd much of the change would come through economic development of the Crow Tribe-focused through the development of natural resources, the greatest of which being the Crow youth.
Following the speeches, the Benediction was delivered by Duane Bull Chief.
Festivities continue throughout the night and with a meal and a powwow.