Native American Photographs by Edward S. Curtis

Blackfoot / Siksika Indians

Blackfoot Indian Photos by Edward S. Curtis

Historical

The migration of the Blackfoot confederacy was southward. On Old Man river they encountered Pi’tsiksinai-tapiw, Snake People, the Shoshoni. Piegan, Blackfeet, Bloods, and Sarsi were allies in the wars that followed, and the Shoshoni were driven out of the country. This was before the horse era, and the principal weapon was a flint-pointed spear.

Crows then ranged along Milk river. The Blackfoot confederacy drove them southward. The Kutenai lived in the mountains west of the divide, but visited the plains in early autumn to hunt buffalo, returning across the mountains for the winter. They were on friendly terms with the Blackfoot tribes. Crows, Shoshoni, and Flatheads (which term included the Kalispel) were always attacked when found on the prairies. The Flatheads crossed the mountains at the head of Marias river, or at Waterton lakes, or at Crows Nest pass.

The Cree were fond of living in the woods. They were north of Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Regina, also along Red Deer river. They hunted buffalo on the prairies near Medicine Hat. They were ahvays hostile to the Blackfeet.

The territory of the Blackfoot confederacy extended north to Battle river, east to Medicine Hat, southeast to the lower part of Milk river, south to Marias river. Occasionally these tribes went as far as Yellowstone river, but here they had to be very cautious on account of the Crows.

Habitat

In the earliest times of which living traditionalists have information the Piegan ranged on Bow river, the Bloods on Red Deer river, the Blackfeet on the Saskatchewan. They gradually worked southward until the Blackfeet were on Bow, the Bloods on Belly, the Piegan on Old Man river and southward to the northern part of what is now Montana. In the summer the three tribes and the Sarsi always camped together for a time.

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