The Blackfeet Indian Reservation or Blackfeet Nation is an Indian reservation of the Blackfeet tribe in the U.S. state of Montana. It is located east of Glacier National Park and borders Canada to the north. Cut Bank Creek and Birch Creek make up part of its eastern and southern borders. The reservation contains 3,000 square miles, half again the size of the national park and larger than the size of the state of Delaware. It is located in parts of Glacier and Pondera Counties.
The Blackfeet Nation has 16,500 registered members. The main community is Browning, which is the seat of tribal government. Other towns serve the tourist economy along the edge of the park: St. Mary and East Glacier Park Village, which has an Amtrak station and the historic Glacier Park Lodge. Small communities include Babb, Kiowa, Blackfoot, Seville, Heart Butte, Starr School, and Glacier Homes. North American Indian Days is an annual festival held on pow wow grounds, near the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning. Not on the reservation, but adjacent to its eastern edge, is the city of Cut Bank.
As on other American reservations, the tribe runs the local government and provides most services, including courts, child welfare, employment assistance, wildlife management, health care, education, land management, and senior services, as well as garbage collection and water systems. The native police were replaced by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2003 because of problems in the local force.
Unemployment runs very high on the reservation. In 2001, the BIA reported 69% unemployment among registered members of the tribe. Among those who were employed that year, 26% earned less than the poverty guideline. The Blackfeet tribal business council is chaired by T.J. Show.
The major income source of the reservation is oil and natural gas leases on the oil fields on tribal lands. In 1982, there were 643 producing oil wells and 47 producing gas wells. The reservation also has a significant tourist industry. Other economic activities include ranching and a small lumber industry, which supported the Blackfeet Indian Writing Company pencil factory in Browning.
There are no paved north-south roads in Glacier National Park. Access to sites on the east side of the park is provided by U.S. Route 89, which runs through the reservation to the Canadian border, crossing near Chief Mountain, which provides access to the Canadian sister national park, Waterton Lakes. Both east-west routes for the park travel through the reservation, as does the passenger train service on the Empire Builder. Several hiking trails continue out of the park, across the reservation, and require Blackfeet-issued permits.