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Native North Americans of the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languagesNative American languages,
languages of the native peoples of the Western Hemisphere and their descendants. A number of the Native American languages that were spoken at the time of the European arrival in the New World in the late 15th cent.
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). 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).

References in periodicals archive ?
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.
Remington's painting, A Blackfoot Indian [Plate 10] pictured a resolute and independent horseman posed proudly before his village of tipis.
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.
In the early morning hours the agency staff left for the camp, when on this day every man, woman and child was to receive the treaty money of $5 each as part of the covenant made with the Blackfoot Indian tribes 55 years ago on the famous Blackfoot Crossing near Cluny.
142) An Historical Album of Blackfoot Indian Music.