Native American History
Native American Languages

What language are the Crow Indians speaking in Jeremiah Johnson is it really the language of the Crow Nation or is it from a different tribe?

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2011-10-16 08:10:46

The language spoken is certainly Crow, but it is obviously being

used by people who have only learned the phrases from an

instructor, not native speakers. The war chief "Paints His Shirt

Red" does not sound like a Crow, even though he speaks Crow words -

the accent and pronunciation is all wrong. The character was played

by Joaquin Martinez, a Mexican actor (why, when there must

be many genuine Crow actors?).

On the other hand the "Flatheads" (really Interior Salish) are

genuine and proficient Salish speakers, although the "wedding song"

they perform is really a funeral song since they did not have

"wedding songs" in their culture.

Despite its many faults the film is a fairly good representation

of life in the mountains at the time; one glaring error is the

completely inaccurate "Crow arrow" shot at Johnson early on by

Paints His Shirt Red, which is nothing at all like any genuine Crow


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