by David R. Torre, ARA
In 1989, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe issued the first pictorial Indian Reservation fish and game stamps in the United States. The stamps featured black and white photographs of deer, pheasants, prairie dogs and geese with red serial numbers (see Figure 1). The Tribe issued similar stamps in 1990. Following a three-year hiatus, the Tribe resumed their stamp program. Semi-pictorial stamps were issued for the fall seasons of 1994 and pictorial stamps, similar to those issued in 1989 and 1990, were issued in 1995.
The pictorial stamps that were issued in 1989 and 1990 proved to be popular with a wide spectrum of collectors. For this reason the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe is deserving of much of the credit for the current interest in Indian Reservation stamp collecting. Collectors will no doubt be pleasantly surprised to learn that the 1995 Crow Creek stamps are in full color and include some of the most beautiful fish and game stamps ever issued by any form of government.
The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe did not issue stamps between 1990 and the fall of 1994 for two reasons. First, the size of the stamp boxes necessary to accommodate the 1989 and 1990 issues did not allow room for an important implied consent phrase to be printed on the tribal passbook/licenses. In 1991, Crow Creek Department of Natural Resources officials decided to shorten the phrase and have it printed on the reverse of the stamps themselves. However, they could not agree on the revised wording in time to have stamps printed for either the 1991 spring or fall seasons (Torre, 1992). Second, a change in tribal leadership occurred in 1992 and precipitated a large turnover in Crow Creek DNR personal. At this time Wildlife Director Marsha McGee resigned her position. It was under McGee that the first pictorial stamps had been is sued in 1989 and 1990.
By the time the new Crow Creek Wildlife leadership was ready to resume the stamp program, it was well into the summer of 1994. There was not enough time to have pictorial stamps printed for some of the early fall seasons. Therefore, it was decided to issue semi-pictorial stamps for all of the 1994 fall seasons (Willman, 1994). The semi-pictorial stamps were made smaller to allow for the full implied consent phrase to be printed along the left side of the new tribal passbooks (see Figure 2).