Blackfoot Indian Tribe

The Blackfoot Indian tribe actually consisted of the North Peigan, the South Peigan, the Kainai Nation, and the Siksika Nation.  Only one of the tribes, the South Peigan, were located in North America.  They lived in Montana while the three other tribes were located in Alberta, Canada.

Like the Apache, the Blackfoot Indian tribe was known to be great warriors. Bands were social units of the Blackfoot that usually consists of between 80 and 240 people.  The band needed to be large enough to defend against enemies, but still small enough to be flexible.  Each band had their own leader.  They were defined by their residence rather than by family, so members could freely leave one band to join another.  Because of this, bands were constantly changing members.  The Blackfoot Indian tribes were nomadic, meaning they moved frequently.  They did this in order to follow the herds of buffalo.  During the winter, the Blackfoot Indian tribes lived close to a river valley, only leaving if food for the band or animals ran out.  When Spring came, the bands would hunt the buffalo that had started to move out into the grasslands.



The Blackfoot Indian tribes held a major tribal ceremony in the summer, for which all the bands came together. It was called the Sun Dance. Other than the winter, when a few bands might join together for shelter, this was the only time the entire tribe came together.  It helped the bands get reacquainted with each other and helped strengthen the ties between the tribes. As the fall came, the Blackfoot started to prepare for winter.

Once bison became extinct in 1881, the Blackfoot Indian tribes had to change their lifestyles. They were given a reservation in 1851, but adapting to their new lives proved hard on the bands. Because they were exposed to new groups of people, such as the Europeans, they also became susceptible to diseases they had never encountered before. They are now primarily ranchers and farmers and there are about 16,000 in Canada and 15,000 in the United States.

 



 

Related Article Links






American Indian Articles Index | Indigenous Peoples' Literature

Disclaimer: The American Indian Heritage Foundation or Indians.org do not personally endorse or support any of the comments made within the writings of this article.