Fools Crow

Fools Crow


James Welch

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Seven Persons Symbol Icon

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

The Fools Crow quotes below all refer to the symbol of Seven Persons. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Fools Crow published in 1986.
Chapter 4 Quotes

[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.

Related Symbols: Seven Persons
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
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Seven Persons Symbol Timeline in Fools Crow

The timeline below shows where the symbol Seven Persons appears in Fools Crow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog looks to the sky and watches as Seven Persons rises high above Chief Mountain. Despite the brisk wind, White Man’s Dog thinks that Cold... (full context)
Chapter 3
War Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Yellow Kidney looks up to Seven Persons as he waits for Fast Horse and White Man’s Dog. The raid party, consisting of... (full context)
Chapter 4
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...quietly sings his war song. Yellow Kidney too paints his face in the pattern of Seven Persons , and Fast Horse ties three eagle feathers in his topknot. (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
With Night Red Light shining through the clouds and Seven Persons at its highest point, the party makes their way toward the Crow camp. Yellow Kidney... (full context)
Chapter 10
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
During the celebration, White Man’s Dog takes a walk outside and looks up for Seven Persons , but he can’t see it. Suddenly, he hears a voice and looks up to... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
That night, White Man’s Dog sleeps by himself beneath the stars. He watches Seven Persons in the night sky and Night Red Light is full. He sleeps and dreams of... (full context)
Chapter 19
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Outside, Seven Persons is partially hidden behind the clouds. Kills-close-to-the-lake makes her way to a small tipi nearby... (full context)
Chapter 20
War Theme Icon
...them but I will not miss them.” Later that night, under Night Red Light and Seven Persons , Yellow Kidney makes his way toward the Spotted Horse People’s camp. (full context)
Chapter 29
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...with some difficulty, drives his horse through the dense trees and into an open valley. Seven Persons is clear in the sky and Fools Crow knows he is in the right place. (full context)