Native American Tribes Nations and Confederacies: Blackfoot

The Blackfoot were a native North American tribe of the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock. They occupied a large range of territory around the Upper Missouri and from the North Saskatchewan rivers to the Rockies in the early 19th century. Their name derives from their tribal custom of dyeing their moccasins black.

They were comprised of three tribes, The Sisika, The Piegam, and the Kainah. Although for the most part they did not form a unified political entity, they were united in defending their lands and in warfare.

The Blackfoot were unremittingly hostile towards neighboring tribes and settlers, and any intrusions into their lands were immediately repelled. Prior to the mid-18th century they moved to the Northern Great Plains area, acquired horses from southern tribes, and developed a nomadic Plains culture, largely dependent on the buffalo, their only cultivated crop being tobacco, which was grown for ceremonial purposes.

With the early coming of settlers, the Blackfoot gained wealth from the sale of beaver pelts, however the killing off of the buffalo and the near exhaustion of fur stocks brought them to the edge of starvation.

Today the Blackfoot are chiefly ranchers and farmers living on reservations in Montana and Alberta. They continue the rich traditions that earlier marked their religion.

In 1990 there were 38,000 Blackfoot in the United States and over 11,000 in Canada.

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