North American Culture

Blackfoot Tribe Native American Blackfoot

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The Blackfoot tribe was native to Canada in North Saskatchewan River, which is now known as Edmonton Alberta, Canada and Yellowstone River in Montana in the United States. The tribe had adopted the name, Niitisitapi, which is translated as The Original People.'

The Blackfoot people were an extremely independent combatant tribe. The tribe was made up of a band with around eighty to two hundred and forty band members residing within thirty lodges. The Blackfoot tribe had resided wherever there was plenty of food and resources such as hunting of wild animals, wood to build fires and vegetation. They would reside in the same place until their resources were exhausted before they moved on to other territories.

Bands were not based on affinity. A member would be at liberty to leave one band and to join another. During times of hardship, it was particularly useful for band members to split up and join other bands as a mean for survival. It was fairly common for bands to break up.

During the summer months, the Blackfoot people would come together for tribal gatherings. In the months when the Saskatoon berries would come into season, the Blackfoot people would gather together for the Sun Dance, which is a foremost tribal ceremony. This was the only time in the year when the whole Blackfoot tribe would convene together. The purpose of the ceremony was for social reasons, so members can meet up with people they do not associate with regularly. The male tribe members would go out on traditional buffalo hunts to provide food for the ceremony.

By 1881, the Blackfoot people were forced to give up their traditional way of living and adapt to the European way of living after the European settlement. During the settlement, the Blackfoot people had suffered greatly physically and economically. They were limited to land to reside on and they were afflicted with diseases that were not known to them or had not experienced before. After a period of time, however, the Blackfoot people had launched a practicable ranching and farming economy.

As with any tribe, the Blackfoot people had a few enemies. War parties were usually organized and they would go on raids on horseback occasionally. Blackfoot enemies were the Flathead and Kootenai tribes and the Crow and Sioux tribes.

Today, the Blackfoot population is estimated to be around 16,000 who are still residing in Canada and around 15,000 who reside within the United States.

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