Blackfoot Tribe Is the name of the tribe "Blackfoot" or "Blackfeet"? Where did this name come from?



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Blackfoot Tribe

Is the name of the tribe "Blackfoot" or "Blackfeet"? Where did this name come from?
"Blackfoot" is the English translation of the word siksika, which means "black foot." It refers to the dark colored moccasins the people wear. Some Blackfoot people are annoyed by the plural "Blackfeet," which is obviously an anglicization. But most Blackfoot people accept both terms. "Blackfoot" is more commonly used in Canada, and "Blackfeet" is more commonly used in the United States.

Where do the Blackfeet Indians live?
The Blackfeet Indians are original residents of the northern Plains, particularly Montana, Idaho, and Alberta, Canada. Most Blackfoot people still live in this region today.

What is the population of the Blackfoot nation?
Today there are about 25,000 citizens of the four Blackfoot Indian bands. About 10,000 of them live in the United States, and the rest live in Canada. There are also many other people who are Blackfoot descendants but are not tribal members.


How is the Blackfeet Indian nation organized?
There are four Blackfoot bands: three in Canada and one in the United States. A Blackfoot band is known as a tribe in the United States and a First Nation in Canada. Each Blackfoot tribe or First Nation lives on its own reservation or reserve, which means land that belongs to the tribe and is legally under their control. The four Blackfoot bands are politically independent. Each one has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country.
What language do the Blackfeet speak?
Most Blackfoot Indians speak English today, but about half of them also speak their native Blackfoot language. Blackfoot is a musical language that has complicated verbs with many parts. Most Blackfoot words are very long and difficult for English speakers to pronounce, but one easy word that you might like to learn is "Oki" (pronounced "oh-kee,") which means "Hello!" You can listen to a Blackfoot woman talk in
What was Blackfoot food like in the days before supermarkets?


      Bison hunt

The Blackfoot staple food was buffalo. Blackfoot men usually hunted the buffalo by driving them off cliffs or stalking them with bow and arrow. As they acquired horses, the Blackfoot tribe began to pursue the buffalo herds for communal hunts, moving their villages often as the buffalo migrated. In addition to buffalo meat, the Blackfoot Indians also ate small game like ground squirrels, nuts and berries, and steamed camas roots as part of their diet.

her language here and read a Blackfoot picture glossary here.

What other Native Americans did the Blackfeet tribe interact with?
The Blackfeet were far-ranging people, especially once they acquired horses, and so they interacted frequently with all the other tribes of Montana and the Northern Plains, particularly the Gros Ventre, Shoshone, Crow, and Cree. The Blackfeet usually communicated with these tribes using the Plains Indian Sign Language. Sometimes the Blackfeet tribe was friendly with these other tribes, trading goods and intermarrying. Other times they fought wars against each other.


Bison hunt






   
 Blackfoot archer
   


What were Blackfoot weapons and tools like in the past?
Blackfoot hunters and warriors fired arrows from powerful long bows or fought with clubs and hide shields. Traditionally most warriors were men, but some Plains Indian women, especially widows, would ride to war with the men. The Blackfoot woman demonstrating a war bow in this picture is a World War II veteran.


Who were some famous Blackfeet Indians?


    Chief Crowfoot

One famous Blackfoot Indian chief was Crowfoot, who led the Blackfoot people in Canada during the second half of the 19th century. Crowfoot was an accomplished warrior and a gifted diplomat. He was most famous for negotiating peace between the Blackfoot Nation and the Canadian government, and for fighting alcoholism among the Blackfoot people. Crowfoot was also the adopted father of the Cree chief Poundmaker, and became close friends with the Sioux leader Sitting Bull. You can read online biographies of Crowfoot here and here.


How do Blackfoot Indian children live, and what did they do for recreation?


Blackfoot doll

Blackfoot children do the same things all children do--play with each other, go to school and help around the house. Many Blackfoot children like to go hunting and fishing with their fathers. In the past, Indian kids had more chores and less time to play, just like colonial children. But they did have dolls, toys, and special games. Here is a picture of a hoop game popular in the Black feet tribe. Blackfoot mothers, like many Native Americans, carried their babies in cradleboards on their backs--a custom which many American parents have adopted now.


What were Blackfoot men and women's roles?


  Women dragging
        
tipi poles

Blackfoot women were in charge of the home. Besides cooking and cleaning, a Blackfoot woman built her family's house and dragged the heavy posts with her whenever the tribe moved. Houses belonged to the women in the Blackfoot tribe. Blackfoot men were hunters and sometimes went to war to defend their families. Most Blackfoot chiefs and warriors were men. Both genders took part in storytelling, artwork and music, and traditional medicine.


What were Blackfoot homes like in the past?


   Blackfoot tepees

The Blackfoot lived in buffalo-hide houses called tipis (or teepees). Here are more tipi pictures. Since the Blackfeet moved frequently to follow the buffalo herds, a tipi was carefully designed to set up and break down quickly, like a modern tent. An entire Blackfoot village could be packed up and ready to move within an hour. Today, Native Americans only put up a tepee for fun or to connect with their heritage, not as shelter. Most Blackfoot people live in modern houses and apartment buildings, just like you.


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