Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Courntey Little Nest gives her sister, Kadrean Iron, a ride on her horse. The Crow live on a 2.2 million-acre reservation in Montana, and have signed an agreement to mine 1.4 billion tons of coal on their land.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Miss Crow Nation Andrea Stump, right, is joined by fellow Crow fair royalty at the start of the Crow Native Days Pow-Wow in Crow Agency, Mont., in June.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument marks the site of the June 25-26, 1876, Battle of the Little Bighorn, near Crow Agency, Mont. Custer National Cemetery, on the battlefield, is part of the national monument.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Spectators watch an Indian relay race, a long-standing favorite at rodeos. The sport involves expert horsemanship, teamwork, pageantry and the potential for disaster at every turn.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Fair-goers walk the grounds during Native Crow Days in Crow Agency, Mont., last month.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Jayceon Fog In the Morning, left, wears a traditional headdress, while Robert Bear Chum shows off a modern "fade" hairstyle during a native days event in Crow Agency, Mont., last month.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

A fashion show featuring the designs of Darlene Perkins takes center stage at the Crow Native Days Pow-Wow in Crow Agency, Mont., in June. The fashion show was held to raise awareness about the high rate of meth abuse on the Crow reservation.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Coal dust fills the air at the Absaloka coal mine in Montana. For decades, the Crow tribe has received the bulk of its revenue from the Absaloka coal mine, an important supplier of fuel to power plants in the Midwest.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Coal is gathered at the Absaloka coal mine in Montana. A proposed new mine, to be operated by Wyoming-based Cloud Peak Energy, is known here as the Big Metal Project.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Rylen Sage waits for her mother in front of her house in Crow Agency, Mont. There is a housing shortage on the reservation, and often three generations of families live under the same roof.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Gladys Jefferson, right, who lives with her two daughters and three grandchildren in a small tribe-subsidized home, receives an insulin injection from her daughter Rhonda "Pee Wee" Jefferson in Crow Agency, Mont.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Cattle rancher Michael Bear Claw Horn rides his horse while gathering cattle on the Crow reservation land in Montana.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Ranchers Michael Bear Claw Horn, left, and James Rides The Bear herd cattle.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

From atop their horse carrier, a group of friends pose for selfies after riding in a rodeo on the Crow reservation last month.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Pastor Myron Falls Doen, right, and assistant pastor Dennis Stewart of El Shaddai Temple Church in Wyola, Mont., baptize a woman.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Native Crow Days fair-goers line up for food and drinks on the Crow rodeo grounds.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Emily Hogan, 10, a young Crow dancer, watches older dancers compete during a Pow-Wow at Crow Native Days.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

SaVannah Good Luck, 18, with her boyfriend, Nakoa Real Bird, during a fair on the Crow reservation in Montana last month.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

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For Crow Nation, proposed mine is a matter of survival

Traffic at the Crow’s remote and modest casino provides no meaningful revenue. There are no reservation hotels, and unemployment is well into the double digits. Tribal leaders say a new coal mine could provide up to $5,000 annually in dividend payments for each of the more than 13,000 members of the tribe and high-paying jobs for decades to come.

Full Story: In dispute over coal mine project, two ways of life hang in the balance

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