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Blackfoot, Native North Americans of the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They occupied in the early 19th cent. a large range of territory around the Upper Missouri (above the Yellowstone) and North Saskatchewan rivers W to the Rockies. Their name derives from the fact that they dyed their moccasins black. There were three main tribes—the Siksika, or Blackfoot proper; the Piegan; and the Kainah, or Blood. Although they did not form a unified political entity, they were united in defending their lands and in warfare. The Atsina (related to the Arapaho) and the Athapascan-speaking Sarsi were allied with the Blackfoot group. The Blackfoot were unremittingly hostile toward neighboring tribes and usually toward white men; intrusions upon Blackfoot lands were efficiently repelled. Prior to the mid-18th cent. they had moved into the N Great Plains area, acquired horses from southern tribes, and developed a nomadic Plains culture, largely dependent on the buffalo. Their only cultivated crop was tobacco, grown for ceremonial purposes. With the early coming of the white man, the Blackfoot gained wealth from the sale of beaver pelts, but the killing off of the buffalo and the near exhaustion of fur stocks brought them to near starvation. Presently the Blackfoot are mainly ranchers and farmers living on reservations in Montana and Alberta. They continue to a small degree the rich ceremonialism that earlier marked their religion; important rituals include the sun dance and the vision quest. In 1990 there were 38,000 Blackfoot in the United States and over 11,000 in Canada.


See J. C. Ewers, The Blackfeet: Raiders on the Northwestern Plains (1958, repr. 1967); H. A. Dempsey, Crowfoot, Chief of the Blackfeet (1972); M. McFee, Modern Blackfeet (1972); B. Nettl, Blackfoot Musical Thought (1989).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Gooderham was made as Blackfoot Indian chief, Chief Eagle Plume, or in the Blackfoot language, Chief Peta Sapo.
(142) An Historical Album of Blackfoot Indian Music.
He was convinced as a result of his visits that the Blackfoot Indians were a remarkable people, excelling all Northern Plains tribes in physical beauty and historical legacy; also that the North-West Mounted Police, beyond their colourful demeanor and valorous record, represented a fundamental frontier martial order that especially resonated with Remington's political and social perspectives.
3 (July 1889): 396 Remington's friend and traveling companion on a subsequent trip to western Canada in 1890, Julian Ralph explained that at least one of the Blackfoot Indians that Remington had tried to photograph would not permit it "Once discovered that the camera employed the mysterious and [to him] awful forces of the sun to do its work." Julian Ralph, The Making of a Journalist (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1908), 20.
One of the most notable and gifted writers of fiction and semi-faction about the Blackfoot Indians was James Willard Schultz, who died in 1947.
There were 2,000 Blackfoot Indians on the reserve to the north of our home at that time.
Ted Binnema in his essay provides an excellent assessment of the meaning and significance of maps drawn by Blackfoot Indians around 1800.