24 Facts About Blackfoot Confederacy


Blackfoot Confederacy, Niitsitapi or Siksikaitsitapi, is a historic collective name for linguistically related groups that make up the Blackfoot or Blackfeet people: the Siksika, the Kainai or Blood, and two sections of the Peigan or Piikani – the Northern Piikani and the Southern Piikani .

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Historically, the member peoples of the Blackfoot Confederacy were nomadic bison hunters and trout fishermen, who ranged across large areas of the northern Great Plains of western North America, specifically the semi-arid shortgrass prairie ecological region.

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The Blackfoot Confederacy used these to expand their territory at the expense of neighboring tribes.

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Today, three Blackfoot Confederacy First Nation band governments reside in the Canadian province of Alberta, while the Blackfeet Nation is a federally recognized Native American tribe of Southern Piikani in Montana, United States.

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Four Blackfoot nations come together to make up what is known as the Blackfoot Confederacy, meaning that they have banded together to help one another.

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Blackfoot Confederacy occupied a large territory where they hunted and foraged; in the 19th century it was divided by the current Canada–US international border.

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The other three Blackfoot Confederacy-speaking peoples and the Sarcee are located in Alberta.

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Blackfoot Confederacy had a territory that stretched from the North Saskatchewan River along what is Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada, to the Yellowstone River of Montana in the United States, and from the Rocky Mountains and along the South Saskatchewan River to the present Alberta-Saskatchewan border, east past the Cypress Hills.

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The Blackfoot Confederacy did not follow immediately, for fear of late blizzards.

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The Blackfoot Confederacy had relied on dogs to pull the travois; they did not acquire horses until the 18th century.

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Up until around 1730, the Blackfoot Confederacy traveled by foot and used dogs to carry and pull some of their goods.

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The Blackfoot Confederacy had established dealings with traders connected to the Canadian and English fur trade before meeting the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1806.

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The group camped together that night, and at dawn there was a scuffle as it was discovered that the Blackfoot Confederacy were trying to steal guns and run off with their horses while the Americans slept.

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Blackfoot Confederacy chose to stay out of the North- West Rebellion, led by the famous Metis leader Louis Riel.

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The Plains Cree were one of the Blackfoot Confederacy's most hated enemies; however, the two nations made peace when Crowfoot adopted Poundmaker, an influential Cree chief and great peacemaker, as his son.

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When news of continued Blackfoot Confederacy neutrality reached Ottawa, Lord Lansdowne, the governor general, expressed his thanks to Crowfoot again on behalf of the Queen back in London.

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Hungry and desperate, Blackfoot Confederacy raided white settlements for food and supplies, and outlaws on both sides stirred up trouble.

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Blackfoot Confederacy used sweet grass smoke, or sachets of sweet grass in their clothing, as an effective insect repellent.

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Similar to other Indigenous Peoples of the Great Plains, the Blackfoot Confederacy developed a variety of different headdresses that incorporated elements of creatures important to them; these served different purposes and symbolized different associations.

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Blackfoot Confederacy have continued to wear traditional headdresses at special ceremonies.

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The Blackfoot Confederacy referred to them as the Piik-siik-sii-naa or Atsina, because of years of enmity.

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In 1896, the Blackfoot Confederacy sold a large portion of their land to the United States government, which hoped to find gold or copper deposits.

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The nations have operated such businesses such as the Blackfoot Confederacy Writing Company, a pen and pencil factory, which opened in 1972, but it closed in the late 1990s.

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Blackfoot Confederacy continue many cultural traditions of the past and hope to extend their ancestors' traditions to their children.

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