Fools Crow

Fools Crow

by

James Welch

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Fools Crow: Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Back at camp, Red Paint traces the outline of her husband’s wound with her finger—thankfully, his injury is not serious. “Wake up, Fools Crow,” she says. He opens his eyes. He had forgotten all about the naming ceremony.
Red Paint is obviously thankful that her husband has returned to her. More than likely, however, their luck will eventually run out. Women far outnumber men in camps because of casualties of war.
Themes
War Theme Icon
At a celebration the night before, White Man’s Dog was renamed Fools Crow—because he had tricked Bull Shield by pretending to be dead before he killed him. Fools Crow had drunk the white man’s water with the rest of the men and bragged about his kill, but now he is regretful. He didn’t trick Bull Shield, he had stumbled, but he didn’t tell the others this. 
The white man’s water is another destructive force of the invading Napikwans which also works against the community of the tribe. The alcohol makes Fools Crow behave in ways that inadvertently alienate members of his tribe. 
Themes
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Fools Crow notices a group of Napikwans riding toward camp, and then he sees the blue-coat seizers. They are accompanied by Joe Kipp, a half-breed who knows the Pikuni tongue. There are more than eighty of them, and one has several yellow stripes on his arms.
 The blue-coat seizers, of course, represent the United States government. The yellow stripes on the man’s uniform indicate that he is a high-ranking officer of some kind, and this implies their official capacity.
Themes
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Joe introduces two of the men as Captain Snelling and John Gates. They tell Three Bears and the Lone Eaters that Malcolm Clark was recently killed, and that Owl Child has been identified as the murderer. He must be held accountable, and the men are searching for Owl Child and his chief, Mountain Chief
As Owl Child’s chief, the seizers intend to make Mountain Chief pay for the murder of Malcolm Clark. Even though Owl Child has essentially left his tribe, the people are still left to answer for his selfish actions.
Themes
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
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Fools Crow is upset by this news and wonders if Fast Horse is still riding with Owl Child’s gang. Less than a year ago Fools Crow and Fast Horse had raided the Crow to “gain honor and wealth in the traditional way,” but there is nothing honorable about the killing of Malcolm Clark.
“The traditional way” refers to the Pikunis’ approach to war and killing. Traditional Pikuni war involves gaining honor and wealth through courage, and Fools Crow sees Owl Child as more of a coward.
Themes
War Theme Icon
Three Bears is upset, and he tells Joe that there are better ways to earn a living than riding with Napikwans. He says that Malcolm Clark was a bad man and he won’t cry for him, but Owl Child is bad as well. Clark had slapped Owl Child in front of this people when he caught Owl Child stealing his horses, and Owl Child had sworn revenge. Still, Three Bears refuses to help the Napikwans—who had promised rations but didn’t deliver—and he won’t tell them where to find Owl Child or Mountain Chief
Three Bears resents Joe Kipp because he has turned his back on the Pikuni way of life and instead lives the life of the Napikwans. Three Bears feels that Owl Child was justified in his revenge—honor is central to Pikuni life, after all—and Clark had stolen Owl Child’s honor. Most of all, though, Three Bears’s refusal to help the Napikwans is a clear message of resistance. 
Themes
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon