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Tribal elder drowns while rescuing grandson | News

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Tribal elder drowns while rescuing grandson
News, People
Tribal elder drowns while rescuing grandson

The Nez Perce Tribe lost one of its finest elders Friday evening after he drowned at Buffalo Eddy on the Snake River while saving his 7-year-old grandson. 69-year-old Elmer Crow, Jr. was a Nez Perce Tribal Elder and fisheries biologist. He was a leader in the Tribe's efforts to translocate and restore lamprey populations in the Snake River Basin, something he said was so important to him "because of the cultural/spiritual values of the Nez Perce people."

According to Jeremy Crow, his father died at his favorite sturgeon fishing spot on the Snake River, Buffalo Eddy, just 10 miles south of his beloved Asotin Creek. In a presentation about lamprey eels several months ago, the elder Crow explained to the audience that "the reason it's called 'uh-SO-tin' is white people couldn't say 'AH-suh-tin,'" which means 'the place of the eels.' "That place was black with them. The whole creek was. And what we're finding out at this time, we're not quite sure yet whether it has something to do with the volcanic sand that's there or what. But that was one of the main creeks in this area. Even though the others had thousands of them in them," Crow said.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t3357XYtmk https://www.facebook.com/PacificLamprey" target="_blank"> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t3357XYtmkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8t3357XYtmk https://www.facebook.com/PacificLamprey" target="_blank"> https://www.facebook.com/PacificLamprey

Crow was also passionate about salmon recovery. He said in an interview that the fish set very high with the Nez Perce culture. He told the story about how before people even arrived on earth, all the animals and birds talked. "They could converse with each other and coyote called a big council and he told them, 'we have a new animal coming. He's not very intelligent and he can't take care of himself. What are we going to do?' Salmon was the first one to raise his fin. 'I will sacrifice my body and my flesh to make these people strong and intelligent.' And I always look at it like we were in trouble. The animals knew it. They stepped forward to help us. Now they're in trouble. So it's our turn to step up and help them." http://vimeo.com/47276035

Jeremy Crow posted on the Elmer Crow Memorial Facebook page that his father had taken his nephews to Buffalo Eddy Friday afternoon. While he was preparing the fishing poles, two of the boys were playing and splashing in the river. "A big jet boat zoomed past the beach where they were and the resulting wave from the wake washed the two boys into the swift current of the river. My older nephew tried helping his younger cousin and my dad jumped in to help them. He got a hold on the younger one, freeing the older grandson to swim to shore, which he did. As the river pulled them further and further out, the current started pulling the two under. My dad, submerged by this time, managed to get his grandson's feet on his shoulders and stabilize him by reaching up to hold his waist. Just as his grandson started dipping below the surface, a boat reached them and pulled him in, but by that time, my dad had already perished in the river. His final act of lifting my nephew above the water for those last few moments was what saved his grandson's life but cost him his own."

A funeral Service followed by a Nez Perce Drum Ceremony will be held Thursday at 5:00 p.m. at the Pi-Nee-Was in Lapwai. A service will be held Friday at 9:00 a.m. at the Pi-Nee-Was in Lapwai with burial to follow at Jonah Hays Cemetery in Sweetwater.https://www.facebook.com/events/1398773803676032/?ref=22

Additional articles and videos about Elmer Crow, Jr.:
http://www.critfc.org/advocacy/lamprey-restoration/
http://vimeo.com/22264130
http://www.hcn.org/issues/43.2/a-nez-perce-elder-spreads-love-for-lamprey

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