Seven Persons is the Pikuni term for the constellation the Big Dipper and is symbolic of the Pikunis’ spirituality and their connection to the natural world. The Pikunis worship the Above Ones, or the spiritual entities represented in the stars, and they pride themselves on being just like the deities they worship. Seven Persons is the most frequently mentioned constellation in Fools Crow, and it guides the Pikuni people both literally and metaphorically. Seven Persons helps the Lone Eaters to navigate at night and is also a sign of good fortune and power. For instance, Yellow Kidney’s war paint consists of painting his face in the pattern of Seven Persons. Later, when Fools Crow embarks on his vision quest, he knows he is in the right place when Seven Persons is clear in the sky—even though he doesn’t know where he is going. Fools Crow also prays to Seven Persons for forgiveness when he betrays Rides-at-the-door, his father, by lusting after his near-mother, Kills-close-to-the-lake. When the constellation is not visible, it is often associated with betrayal or deceit. On the night of Fools Crow’s wedding to Red Paint, when Kills-close-to-the-lake approaches Fools Crow to congratulate him, he is unable to see Seven Persons in the night sky. As she walks away, Fools Crow has tears in his eyes because, as always, it is difficult for him to resist his father’s wife. Similarly, Seven Persons is hidden by the clouds the night that Kills-close-to-the-lake visits Running Fisher in his tipi and Striped Face discovers their affair. All of these instances underscore the importance of Seven Persons—and, as such, of spirituality built on the natural world—within Pikuni culture.
Seven Persons Quotes in Fools Crow
[White Man’s Dog] prayed to Sun Chief, who watched over the Pikunis and all the things of this world. Then he dropped his head and made a vow. He vowed that if he was successful and returned home unharmed, he would sacrifice before the Medicine Pole at the next Sun Dance. Finally, he sang his war song, his voice low and distinct. When he lifted his head he saw that the other men had painted their faces. Yellow Kidney had painted the left half of his face white with a series of small blue dots in a familiar pattern. Seven Persons, thought White Man’s Dog.