Coup, The Random House College Dictionary definition, 1.a highly successful stroke, act, or move; a clever action or accomplishment.

Counting Coup - Changing Energy


by Arthur Jacobs

Augie Grayfox, Kingfisher and I have come to help the dancers at The Crow Sun Dance Ceremony. They take time out and give me a chance to go swimming in the life-giving waters of the Little Big Horn River. We are in the middle of Crow Agency, in the heart of Crow country, Montana. If some locals take interest in us, since we are strangers, there might be trouble. So, I only want to cool off in the water and then head back to the Sundance. I am sitting on a sandy bank of the river, not going in because it is steep, and I do not want to lose my footing with my crippled leg and fall. While I am relaxing, three Crow Indians come to go swimming, one being very drunk.

This Indian is curious about us and wants to make sure we are not hostile, so he asks Grayfox where he is from. Grayfox explains, "I am from Arizona, Apache country. We are helping at the Crow Sun Dance". This seems to settle the Crow's discomfort. After he learns this, he dives into the water without taking off anything, wearing boots, bandana, clothes and all, then he notices me, a white stranger in the middle of Montana. He sees me sitting on the shore and he wants to start some trouble perhaps because of the fire water or maybe because he is just territorial, anyway he reaches into the water and starts splashing me. It is hot out, so I just lean back and enjoy it. He does not understand why I am not angry, so he looks at me closer and realizes I am crippled. His mood changes and he feels sorry. Realizing his change of mood I say, "I would love to go in the water but I need some help. Will you help me?"

He jumps at the chance to help me, especially because he already treated me wrongly and he feels bad about it. He walks up and takes me by my arm, he is drunk and not steady, I am not sure who is helping whom. Slowly we move toward the water, together. Accidently, one of us slips and we both tumble into the water. In midair our heads collide, and when we get on our feet again in the river someone on the shore yells, "your face is bleeding!". Not sure which one he means, we look at each other. He sees I am not bleeding so he reaches for his face and touches his forehead which has a big gash in it; his hand comes down all red.

I am apprehensive - here I am in Crow Country, Montana in the Little Big Horn River with a drunken bleeding Crow Indian. He looks at me. I am unsure if he is angry or not. I just wait.------- He reaches over, and helps me out of the water. My fear is gone, I apologize to him for his cut on the head, he says, "It is nothing," and all three men walk to their car and leave.

On the drive back to the Crow Sun Dance, Grayfox laughing, says, "Good one, you Counted Coup on that Crow."


One example of counting Coup in Indian wars would be when a warrior would hit his enemy with a stick. This would change the enemies energy, by just letting him know that you are not frightened and if you had really wanted to hurt him you could have. This act of physically touching your enemy without seriously hurting him can take away or disarm the enemys' anger. It creates an opportunity for the enemy to think about, and consider what he is doing and gives him a chance to remember that all life is sacred.

We can all Count Coup by helping someone, something, or a helping organization. By being willing to get physically involved (as when I asked for help from the drunk Crow, and he accepted) we can create an opportunity to change anger into help, and a chance so we might all survive together, in peace.

click here to learn more

The words in the game FREEMAN (Copyright 12/1/98 by Arthur Jacobs) are from the story, "Counting Coup - Changing Energy".


Click in applet to activate game (if on Macintosh type a letter also)-hit return or any letter for another word--Please be patient while the Java applet loads. When you are set free for the first time there may be a delay while your freedom quote loads! ENJOY!!!!!!

Glad you could stop by. According to the Web-Counter you are thehuman here.

This site constructed by Arthur Jacobs to find out more please e-mail: Arthur Jacobs, Star Walkers

Click for the story Be Free Yourself

Or here if you want to go back to the home page and the story Cowboy Justice In Tiburon

Here is a Freeman game in two languages:
Do You Know Italian? Well you can learn it and see italy:
English and Spanish
A math game
Here is a dinosaur game that children may enjoy (and learn from):
Dinosaur Game

For a great Mexican Meal check out Chelinos Restaurant James Gauer

The picture of the skull and feather are from Sondra J. Seeger check out her page of art at