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Blackfoot Geography and Government

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Lilly Mclellan

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of Blackfoot Geography and Government

Blackfoot Nation First Nations
of the
North American Plains Government and Geography Geography the blackfoot people were the original residents of the Northern Plains (consisting of Montana, Idaho, and Alberta)

because of this they were also called the "Niitsitapi" meaning "original people Blackfoot Teepees, Glacier National Park 1933 A Blackfoot family outside of their Teepee Immigration evidence shows that the Blackfeet people immigrated from the east around 1200

they lived in the forests of the current northeastern United States (along border between state of Maine and Canada) in search of more land

settled for a short time in area of the Great Lakes, where they competed with other tribes for land, before moving on farther west

the were one of the first groups to move west after the arrival of the Europeans Territory The Blackfoot people held the most territory out of any tribes living in the Plains.

total region of the plains is 800 km east to west and 32,000 km north to south
they held territory from the North Saskatchewan River (Canada) to the headwaters of the Missouri River (Montana, USA)
their land includes foothills of the Rocky Mountains Migration the blackfoot people usually lived along rivers or streams where the land was fertile

for part of the year they lived in fixed villages where they could rasie crops

for remainder of year they lived in transportable teepees while hunting buffalo Government and Society The Nation The Blackfoot nation was made up of three tribes:
the Blackfoot and North Blackfoot (siksika) the Blood (kainah)

the Piegan (pikuni) Government blackfoot nation was led by a council of chiefs, one chosen from each clan based on their ability to provide for a group of families (food and safe shelter)

blackfoot people valued harmony, so their government worked by consensus (every chief had to agree on a decision before a plan was put into action) Society Within the Blackfoot nation people were invited into certain societies.

Boys were invited into certain ones after proving themselves through passages and rituals. They would go on their vision quest, when they would cleanse themselves completely in a sweatlodge, then go out into the wilderness for four days alone, when they would fast and pray while waiting for a vision to explain their future. Different Societies There were many different societies to be a part of:

warrior society: men prepared for battle by spiritually cleansing themselves, and painting themselves symbolically

religious society: protected sacred blackfoot items, conducted religious ceremonies, blessed warriors for battle, sent prayers to the creator

women's society: cared for and taught children, helped men prepare for battle, prepared food and hides, made clothing, quilts and shields, and performed ceremonies to help hunters in their journeys Climate the north american plains faced hot and humid summers and harsh cold winters

plains went through thunderstorms spring through summer

the high plains, (southern Alberta, southwest Saskatchewan, and eastern Montana) was characterized by farmland and rangeland and was often subject to long periods of drought and high winds

southeastern portion is most tornadoe active area in the world (known as tornadoe alley) Map showing their imigration Blackfoot Nation territory Warrior from Warrior Society Bibliography McMillan, Alan D. "The Plains." Native peoples and cultures of Canada: An anthropological overview. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1995. 125-60.

Johnson, Michael. Native tribes of the Plains and Prairie. Milwaukee, WI: World Almanac Library, 2004.

Doherty, Craig A., and Katherine M. Doherty. Plateau Indians. New York: Chelsea House, 2008.

Lacey, Theresa Jensen. The Blackfeet. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Pub., 2006.

Sharp, Anne Wallace. The Blackfeet. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, 2002.
C Goldi Productions Ltd. "First Peoples of Canada Before Contact Menu." First Peoples of Canada Before Contact Menu. 2007. Canadian Heritage. 11 Dec. 2012 <http://firstpeoplesofcanada.com/>.

Lewis, Orrin. "Blackfoot Indian Fact Sheet." Facts for Kids: Blackfoot Indians (Blackfeet, Siksika). Native Languages of the Americas, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2012.

"Blackfoot Confederacy." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Dec. 2012. Web. 19 Dec. 2012. Beliefs Did they believe in afterlife?
- There are so many different cultures and groups in the ‘plains’ corner of first nations. Most of them believed that afterlife did exist after death, that’s why the graves were so sacred and the funerals were so religious. They believed that after you died your spirit split in half,the more organic half of the soul went back to where it came from, (the trees, the animals, the clouds..) and the other half (the more spiritual side of the soul) went back to the father of the soul. This was caused because of their very strong connection with nature and their belief that there was a great spirit that controlled everything that happened to them and it created all things around them. The plains people were extremely in tune with their surroundings.

What do the northern lights have to do with their native culture?
The natives perceived the northern lights as gods dancing above the sky. It was also a common belief that the northern lights were a gathering of medicine men and warriors in the land of far North. They held great feasts and prepared their fallen foes in huge cooking pots. They also believed that they could conjured up ghosts and spirits by whistling to the lights. It was a common belief that the northern lights were the reflections in the sky of huge fires in the distant north, or that the might God Himself lightened up the dark and cold parts of the world. Some of the plains people also believed that the lights were the spirits of their people. But that belief isn’t as common. Practices of the Blackfoot Beliefs How did they use plants as medicine?
Certain tribes that lived throughout the plains used various methods of healing. For example, the Blackfoot tribe used a mixture of flowers and plants in medicinal remedies. Other materials such a red cedar, sweet grass and sage were also used. Some were inhaled fumes when burned in the fire. Others were boiled in water of consumed. They carried bundles of materials that were thought to have special powers. For example, tobacco and other bird and animal skins and bones.
Medicine Making Sweet Grass Medicine How did they use their resources for tools?
The tools used by the first nations of Canada evolved through time. At first people used spears with sharpened rock heads. But soon a more efficient form of weapons were a bow and arrow. Some tribes also developed snares fore hunting and trapping smaller animals. Hammers were made of stone with wood handles tied with animal skin. They also used animal for food and water containers. They fashioned meat racks out of old trees and branches to dry out food so it would not go bad.

What was their average life span?
The average life span of these early North Americans was about 50 years in the year 1700. by 1750, the Europeans brought many diseases that the first nations of Canada had not yet been exposed to. Diseases such as smallpox, typhus, influenza, and tuberculosis were brought from Europe and contracted through trade of materials. There diseases are in less amounts today but back then these would be considered devastating. Because of high cause of disease, the average life expectancy dropped to 40 years by 1750. Lifespan Culture Culture:
* plains people were known for the
importance of the buffalo
and the tepee.
* Were hunters, and the
buffalo was the most
important natural
resource of the plains
* buffalo provided them
with all their basic needs;
food, clothing, and
* Followed the buffalo
*population: (1700’s) 33,000 * the tepee was formed because it was easy to put up and take down due to the constant movement of the tribe.

* Believed in many different gods, that showed themselves in the form of the sun, moon, stars, and anything that was strong or strange.

* Powwows were one of the plains peoples ceremonies.

* Powwows were a celebration or prayer to the great spirit. * The important plain ceremonies was called the sun dance, it took place during the summer months. It lasted for many days and the people had nothing to drink or eat, they preformed the same movements over and over. They lifted their eyes to the sun as long as they could, and some men pierced their chests with wooden skewers which was later outlawed because it was considered to cruel.

* Indians kept track of how many men they had killed by adding a feather to their headdress, which was a headpiece worn by certain Indians.

* The feathers represented acts of bravery. Language Cree
North Slave (Hare)
South Slave
and more...
Blackfoot Language
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