Blackfoot Indians

The Blackfoot or Blackfeet Indian tribe of the U.S.A and Canada is made up of four groups which are the Piegan Blackfeet, Sikka, Palani, and Kiana Blood Indians.

The four groups come together to make up the Blackfoot Confederacy to help one another when needed.
Each group or band has its own separate governing council and Chiefs to look after their individual affairs. They will however come together for ceremonial and social celebrations.

The Blackfoot tribe is found in Alberta Canada and Montana U.S.A and they are known as the Pikuni. They were divided into many smaller bands from 10to 30lodges or between 80to 240 people.

In the 19th century both the U.S and Canadian governments settled the people on to reservations “U.S.A.” reserves Canada.

This happened because the Border between the U.S and Canada goes through their tribal lands Alberta Canada and Montana in the U.S.A.
During the summer months the people the people would gather for national celebrations.

Like all plains Indians warrior society had a very important part in tribal life and was structured to gaining importance in battle to gain oner in the tribe.

During winter when the weather could be very harsh bands would live along river valleys and wooded areas to protect them from the worst of the weather.

When the warmer weather began, and the Buffalo started to move out into the grass lands the people did not follow the herds immediately to hunt because severe early spring blizzards could occur so they would remain in and around the winter camps. the name Blackfoot was given to then because they were known to paint or dye their moccasins black.

The early history of the people goes back to about 1200AD. They inhabited from the upper north west part of the U.S. and Canadian border eventually moving West and settling near the Great Lakes in Canada.

However, do pressure from other tribes for resources they again moved to their present-day locations. Like all other plain’s tribes, the introduction of the horse changed their way of life becoming nomadic buffalo hunters and Warriors.

They had their enemies like every other tribe including The Crow, Cheyenne, and Sioux, Shoshone, Flathead and Nez Pearce.

Their main biggest enemy were The Cree and Assiniboine Indians and of course contact with white settlers also bought its own problems including disease.

Cholera, Smallpox and measles had a devastating consequence among the tribe.

Today the Blackfoot people are split between Canada and the U.S.A. on the two Reservations one in Alberta Canada and the other in or near Browning Montana.

On the Canadian side of the border unemployment is a problem because they are not near any urban areas to get work in, so some have migrated to the cities to find work.

The Canadian government have some companies leased land from the Blackfoot people for various.

Projects like mining, or other projects. This does bring in much needed revenue for the benefit of the a whole and on both sides of the border collages have been built on or near the reserves and reservation.

Like all native cultures in turtle island today they continue to practice and teach their traditional ways and customs to young children their cultural history and way of life.

On the Canadian side in Alberta at the Reserve they have a museum and visitor centre where you can learn all about the people of the Blackfoot nation.

There is also a place not far from the reserve called Head Smashed In Buffalo this is also a visitor centre and his where historically they would corral the buffalo and drive them over a cliff where the buffalo would fall and break their necks and in this way they would be able to use the buffalo for food and other things they depended on to survive before the introduction of the horse.

This site today is now a UNESCO World heritage Site.