Native American Tales

Spotted Eagle and Black Crow

Spotted Eagle and Black CrowSpotted Eagle and Black Crow

White River Sioux

There were two warriors, Spotted Eagle and Black Crow. They both loved the same woman, Red Bird. The two decided to go on a war party against the Pahani, but it didn’t go well. They had to hide for a long time from the Pahani warriors, but finally they were able to make their way home, but first they wanted to see if anyone was following them. The climbed up on a cliff and decided to look around. There was no way down, but there was an eagle’s nest. Black Crow lowered Spotted Eagle into the nest and decided to leave him there.

Black Crow went home and married Red Bird after he had told everyone that the Pahini had killed Spotted Eagle. Spotted Eagle could not get down, it was two far, three-hundred feet. The birds became accustomed to him. The mother eagle would bring food and everyone would eat.

He had a plan. He prayed and grabbed the legs of his eagle brothers and they flew him to the ground. Spotted Eagle was able to return home. He saw that his love was married to his friend, but there was nothing he could do about it, so he accepted his life. All he would say is that he escaped.

A year later, a great Pahani war party came against the village. It came down to Spotted Eagle and Black Crow fighting alone. Black Crow asked Spotted Eagle to get behind him on his horse, but Spotted Eagle told him that he was a Fox Kit Warrior and should pin his sash to the ground and fight like he was supposed to. Black Crow fought bravely, but he ultimately died. Spotted Eagle went across the river to safety.

After some time he married Red Bird and was happy. At one point, he did tell people how Black Crow had betrayed him, but he also said that he forgave Black Crow because he was once a friend and he died a warrior’s death. He also went back to see the eagles who had rescued him. They remembered him and came down to greet him and there he made a pact with the eagles. He was content in his life.


Eagles are very big birds, but I don’t know that two of them could safely get a human to the ground. Birds have hollow bones, so even if they’re big birds, they don’t weigh an awful lot and you have to consider that they may not necessarily be able to carry a lot. Certainly an animal like an ostrich could carry a lot, because it’s huge, but not two eagles.


You should not betray your friends to steal their boyfriends and/or girlfriends. Betrayal, at some point, should be repaid. If you betray someone, you would do something to make it up to them. Black Crow lost his life so that Spotted Eagle could get away to safety. Black Crow had been in the wrong, but he had to make it up.

I believe I’ve mentioned the idea of blood atonement before. You do something so awful, that the only way you can begin to make up for it is to give up your life. I don’t necessarily think that Black Crow did something that awful, but he did leave his friend for dead because of a woman, maybe it was that awful.


Maybe not steal your friend’s girlfriend? Or maybe let her choose?

Weigh In

What would you do to Black Crow if he betrayed you?

Do you think that Black Crow paid his debt?



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