swift fox is honored by the Assiniboine Tribe for helping to bring
summer to Montana.
Four Star, chief of the Assiniboine's Red Bottom clan, related this
the beginning, the Assiniboine Tribe lived in the north where there
was nothing but ice. On a trip south, members of the tribe came
across a lodge. Inside were four men lying around a tripod that
held a leather bag filled with water. As the water dripped on the
ground, grass and flowers would grow.
Assiniboines returned to their people and told them of the amazing
bag and its contents.
tribe worked with various animals, because each had unique and useful
traits. The swift fox was chosen to be the animal to enter the lodge
and steal the bag, since he was quiet and quick. But after the swift
fox had grabbed the bag, his tail brushed one of the sleeping men
and he awoke. A chase began.
the men eventually caught the fox, he had already handed the bag
off in what would be a relay race back to the Assiniboine people.
The men could never retrieve the bag because as it was carried north,
the ice thawed and the men couldn't cross the now rushing rivers.
the end, the men struck a deal with the tribe. The Assiniboine would
keep the bag for six months of the year before returning it to the
men. The tribe credits the sandhill crane with carrying the bag
back and forth, so when warm weather is slow to return to Montana
in the spring, the cranes are blamed for the delay.