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Courtesy Montana Arts Council

“All the years of looking for rhymes and riddles have brought me over here. I’m just a really simple guy that can live with one light bulb and a pencil.”
— Henry Real Bird
(to Billings Gazette writer Brett French • reprinted in the Missoulian)

Henry Real Bird: Montana Poet Laureate, Cowboy Poet, Rancher, Educator, Ancestral Crow Native

Photo © Joseph Terry

L-R | Montana poet laureate Henry Real Bird and riding partner Levi Bruce, who covered the northern half of the Treasure State and northwest North Dakota on a 415-mile journey by horseback, passing out books of his poetry.

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Go to the Western Folklife Center original

Ride Across Montana with Henry Real Bird

Henry Real Bird—cowboy poet, Crow Indian and recently named Poet Laureate of Montana—has embarked on a 415-mile journey on horseback across northwest North Dakota and northern Montana. He is handing out books of poetry to the people he meets along his route, which will take him through Indian country where his grandfather rode a century ago.This is not a press stunt, but rather a demonstration of Henry’s life, culture and poetry: a journey of horse and horseman slowly making their way across a vast ancestral landscape …

To read Hal Cannon’s full article and listen to or read his interview with Henry Real Bird, click here.



Sell out Crow.
Who are they that give water rights away?
Sell out Crow.
Who are they that take tribal hay?
Sell out Crow.
Who are they that take tribal buffalo?
Sell out Crow.
Who are they that give Mother Earth away?
Sell out Crow.
Dog called man was looking at blue sky,
As a federally funded tribe of dogs
Pull the teeth of dogs that think
That they are men. The chief of the men
Used to be the last to eat but now the
Dog chief just keeps making a sound
Like canvas ripping.
All free man wants is to be sovereign.

— Henry Real Bird

© 2010 Henry Real Bird

• Additional poems by Henry Real Bird at the Montana Arts Council site


Courtesy Arthur Magazine

Across Montana On Horseback, Poet Hands Out Poetry • All Things Considered • July 31, 2010


Brett French: “Poet Laureate Real Bird works horses and words” • Billings Gazette, October 3, 2009


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