the following stories are from a book I read at the loacal library
The Blackfoot, whose name literally means "moccasins which
became black from prairie ash,"are a plains tribe who
frequented the border area of northern Montana
and southern Alberta, Canada.
They are not to be confused with the Blackfeet,
a similar name and one of the seven bands of the Lakota (Sioux).
The Blackfoot lived among the Rocky Mountains
often wintering along the banks of the Flathead
River so they could hunt deer, elk, moose, antelope
and bear. Like most nomadic, buffalo-hunting tribes
they summered on the Great Plains, living in circles
of very large and distinct tipis with lodgepoles that
cleared the top of the buffalo hide covers by four
to six feet. The center of the tipi circle was
often the site of ceremony and hunting strategy sessions.
The summer hunt often found warriors "disguised"
as animals in hides and fur so the buffalo could not
detect their human scent. The buffalo were often
driven into small, enclosed areas where they would
be easier to kill. Sometimes "buffalo jumps"
were used, before and after the introduction
of the horse. Buffalo would be driven off a cliff
easy enough to negotiate but high enough that
the fall would kill them.
The buffalo provided the Blackfoot, too, with clothing,
shelter, tools and weapons. After the hunt, the women
of the tribe would dry and preserve the meat, often
making pemmican (dried meat, fat and berries) that
could be traded to area trappers. The women
and children also scoured the woods and plains for berries,
nuts and other wild foods to supplement the diet.
The men wore long buckskin leggings that pulled up to
the waist and folded over a belt, creating the look
of a breechcloth. Women wore long buckskin dresses
that were sleeveless in summer and had sleeves
to add in winter. Buffalo robes and moccasins with
the buffalo fur side in for warmth rounded out the winter wardrobe.
The Blackfoot were gifted artists, with many tipis painted
with exquisite designs and ceremonial clothing that was
fringed and decorated with quillwork, beads and paint.
Blackfoot belief is that an old man named Napi was the
creator of the world. The tribe participated in
an annual Sundance ceremony and many special
religious and brotherhood societies existed.
Women, too, participated in all-female societies.
While the Blackfoot were forced to protect their
homelands from white intruders too, they did carry
on trade peacefully with European trappers for more than
200 years. Over the course of time, many Blackfoot died from
disease brought by whites and by the late 1800s hoards
of white settlers and sightseers flooded Blackfoot lands
Thousands and thousands of buffalo were killed
for sport not need, and then left to rot. The winter
of 1883 saw the starvation death of more than
800 Blackfoot because there were already no more buffalo.
Those who survived gave up their lands and submitted
to removal to reservations in Canada and Montana
in exchange for government subsidies of cattle, money and supplies.
Today, many Blackfoot are successful cattle ranchers
and farmers still living on reservations in Montana and Alberta, Canada.