Blackfeet Indians

The Blackfeet Indians, the original Plains Indians as many people regard them, used to inhabit a Northern region of what is now the United States and Canada, including the areas from the North Saskatchewan River in Canada down to Montana's Missouri River. The tribe was made up of four groups that shared a language and culture and defended their territory together. Although the might have been spread out quite a bit, they married within one another and gathered for ceremonies and other events.

The Blackfeet Indians were hunter-gatherers, and they moved as their food and lifestyle permitted. They lived in teepees and lived off of vegetables and buffalo meat. As a people, they were entirely self-reliant and self-sufficient, moving as the need arose.

From young children, members of the Blackfeet tribe learned their trades. Education was important for members of this tribe, as they were learned in skills like hunting and fishing, as well as carpentry and pottery from a very young age.

In January of 1870, the American Military went looking for a small group of hostile Blackfeet but found a peaceful band of Piegans instead. Although it was clear to the military that they were dealing with the wrong camp, a huge massacre ensued leaving 173 Natives dead-mostly the elderly, female, and child members of the tribe. 140 others were captured and later turned loose with no means of survival-mostly men. Many of them later froze to death on their way to Montana.

Between war and disease, the once 20,000 strong Blackfeet population was down to 5,000 by the turn of that century. There are about 25,000 Blackfeet Indian tribe members these days in Montana and parts of Canada living on four reservations and they still retain their language and culture.





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