Native American Tales

Two Bullets and Two Arrows

Two Bullets and Two ArrowsTwo Bullets and Two Arrows

Brule Sioux

This is the story of how the Crow Dog family got their name. The first Crow Dog was a chief. He had a vision of a white horse and his horse became the fastest. His tribe was to go to war, but they found out that some natives were helping the white man fight other native tribes.

The chief was hit with two arrows and badly injured. Two warriors helped him onto a horse, but they were attacked and lost sight of the chief. They thought he had died. The chief traveled on for a while, but became so weak with blood loss that he fell off the pony.

Two coyotes found him and brought him food and medicine. They cared for him until he was well. Then a crow led him home.

Some time after this, he was out hunting and was attacked by a war party. He was hit with two bullets and badly injured. Again the coyotes found him and took care of him until he was recovered. A crow led him home.

The chief then changed his name to Crow Coyote, but when the white man came it was written down incorrectly and became Crow Dog.


I’ve read this story before. I read Mary Crow Dog’s memoir about her life growing up as a Lakota. Mary was, or is, married to Leonard Crow Dog, son of Henry Crow Dog, the man who told this story to the story collectors.

I don’t know if I buy the fact that two coyotes took care of a man, but stranger things have happened. Animals have, for whatever reasons, tried to protect and care for humans from time to time. Nature can work in strange ways. Maybe two coyotes really did take care of the first Crow Dog or maybe it’s just a story.


Sometimes when someone does something tremendously amazing for you, you honor them by making a permanent reminder in your life. If someone donates a lot of money to a hospital, that hospital may name the new wing or treatment center after that person. It’s a way to show gratitude and to let that generosity live on through generations, even when no one may remember who the original benefactor was.

I doubt the first Crow Dog ever again saw two coyotes and thought that they were the same coyotes who had saved him. Changing his name was a way to bring permanent honor to the coyotes and the crow for generations to come.


I wonder what this guy’s name was before.

Weigh In

If you were wounded out in the woods, what animal would bring you food and why?

Would you change your name as a thank you to someone?


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