Fools Crow

Fools Crow

by

James Welch

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Fools Crow: Chapter 35 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
On the thirteenth day of the outbreak, Fools Crow and Rides-at-the-door walked through camp counting the sick and dead. They pass many mourners and it seems as if the Pikunis have “become a different people.” They arrive at the lodge of Three Bears; the chief had died the day before. As he died, he had given Rides-at-the-door his red-stone pipe and chosen him as the new chief. 
The Pikunis are defeated yet Fools Crow and Rides-at-the-door continue to fight on their behalf. Both men are determined to see their people through this and carry on their way of life.
Themes
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
At Heavy Shield Woman’s lodge, Good Young Man quietly dies. Fools Crow had performed a healing ritual the day before, but he could not help the boy. One Spot has begun to ask for food, and it looks as if he will survive. For the second time, the boy has come back from the Shadowland.
One Spot’s survival is miraculous, and he is a representation of Fools Crow’s healing powers.
Themes
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
The next day is clear and cold, and the hunting party finally departs. Fools Crow and the others ride down the valley and soon come across the winter camp of the Topknots. Crow Foot welcomes them, but he is thin and frail. Over half of his band has been killed by the white-scabs disease, and now there is no game. He doesn’t invite them to stay and they ride on.
Crow Foot’s dismissive behavior is evidence of the Topknot’s hardships. Just as the hide had revealed, many of the camps have been hit by the virus, and Fools Crow suspects the Crow Foot has been hit especially hard. 
Themes
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
The men ride for days and see no signs of game. As Fools Crow stares blankly down the valley, he sees movement in the distance. He can tell that it is humans on foot—they appear to have children and old people with them, and they carry no weapons. As they move closer, Fools Crow can see that the people are members of Heavy Runner’s band.
These are survivors of the Marias Massacres. There are no men present, and they obviously do not pose a threat, just like the paper signed by Heavy Runner stated.
Themes
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
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Fools Crow immediately senses that something is wrong. He feels instant guilt; he had told no one about the visions he saw in the yellow hide. As they come upon the people, Fools Crow can see that one of the women is shot through the calf. “It was seizers,” she says. They had ridden into camp before daybreak and opened fire on their lodges. Heavy Runner is dead, along with many, many others.
This parallels the guilt that Fools Crow feels when he doesn’t tell Yellow Kidney about his dream on the raid. Fools Crow’s guilt is a reflection of his commitment to the Pikuni people—he feels responsible for the death of Heavy Runner’s people.
Themes
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
As Fools Crow rides up to Heavy Runner’s camp, he tries to brace himself for what he is about to see, but nothing can prepare him. There is dark smoke everywhere and he can smell burning flesh and hair. He begins to weep as he sees the mangled bodies of his people. The camp is littered with bodies and parts of bodies, and he even crosses a black and lifeless infant. Fools Crow vomits as he rides through the carnage.
Fools Crow vomits because he can’t stomach the violence and senseless killing. All of these people were innocent and non-hostile, and they were killed by the United States military in response to Owl Child’s murder of Malcolm Clark. All of this death is on account of one white settler. 
Themes
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
As Fools Crow looks around, a few survivors emerge from the tree line. He suddenly realizes that there are no men among the victims. “Where are the men?” he asks. The survivors tell him that the men had gone out hunting. “A Pikuni does not live without meat,” an old woman says. Fools Crow is further saddened by the thought of the men returning home to find their families and homes destroyed. He is certain now that Sun Chief truly does favor the Napikwans
The fact that there were not any men present during the massacre somehow manages to make this tragedy even worse. Without the men, the Pikunis had no way to defend themselves. This highlights the wickedness of attacking an unarmed and defenseless camp.
Themes
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
War Theme Icon
Fools Crow asks if there are any other survivors. There are some, they say, but most of them are dead. He asks what direction the seizers rode in, and he is told that they headed toward the Many Chiefs camp. Fools Crow remembers hearing that Owl Child had been inflicted by the white-scabs disease and he too is sure to be dead by now.
Owl Child will escape the seizers after all, and his people will still be made to suffer. While he may have died of the white-scabs disease, this implies that Owl Child still avoids responsibility for his actions. 
Themes
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Fools Crow thinks of the last scene on the yellow skin in which the Napikwan children played while the Pikuni children stood nearby. He tries to find the strength to continue, and he thinks of their children, hoping to find the courage. “[We] have no children,” he thinks.
Most of the children in Heavy Runner’s camp are dead. Who will the Pikunis tell their stories to if their children are dead? Without their children, there is no hope of saving the Pikuni people. 
Themes
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
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