Chloe - First Nations Project

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Chloe - First Nations Project

Blackfoot Siksika Tribe

First Nations Inquiry Project

Mrs. Roper

By: Chloe Hunter

Siksika or Blackfoot TribeSome resources say the Blackfoot refer to themselves as the Niitsitapi, although we know them as Blackfoot. This well known tribe settled in the northern plains, including Montana, Idaho, and Alberta, Canada. They spoke the Blackfoot language. The landscape included the Rocky Mountains, the plains, the foothills, which had many rolling, valleys, and also rivers, lakes, and streams throughout the region where the Blackfoot lived and roamed. The climate was much like our own. They had four seasons, fall, winter, spring and summer. They needed to be prepared for all kinds of weather, but most importantly, the winter months were the coldest, and so they prepared for this. Probably the most important resource to the Blackfoot tribe was the buffalo. The Blackfoot were not wasteful people and they used all possible resources from this animal. The buckskin hide was used as a warm coat, and also for their shelter or tipis. The hair was used for pillows, rope, headdresses, the tail for whips, or decoration, the hoof and feet could be used as glue or rattles. Not the least bit wasteful, every piece of meat was eaten from the buffalo, nothing was thrown away. The hind leg skin was used for moccasins or boots, the rawhide used for containers, food, medicine bags, moccasin soles, buckets, drums pouches, and many more things. In addition to the buffalo, the Blackfoot also ate small game, like squirrels, and rabbits (hare). Other resources that kept them healthy were nuts and berries, and steamed camas roots. The clothing worn by this tribe was made out of animal skins, like buffalo hides, deer, fox, coyote and other wild animals. Moccasins were an important piece to their wardrobe because they allowed their feet to stay warm and dry in the winter. Women often wore long deerskin dresses, and men wore buckskin tunics in the warmer months. They also had special clothing for seasons; men wore breechcloths with leggings in the summer, and buffalo hide robes in the winter. Women wore dresses that were decorated with porcupine quills, beads, and elk teeth. Chiefs wore tall headdresses made of feathers. Men would wear their hair in 3 braids while women wore their hair loose or in two thicker braids. During special occasions or war times, the Blackfoot would paint their faces using different patterns that depended on the ceremony.The homes of the Blackfoot can still be seen today. They are what we know as tipis. The interesting thing about tipis is that they provided the kind of shelter that was easy to set up and take down. The Blackfoot needed this because they were always moving around following the buffalo as this was the way they survived. The buffalo was their main food source. The Blackfoot did not have a permanent homes, as a result of their continued migration with the buffalo.The main food source for the Blackfoot was the buffalo, although they did eat berries like raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and saskatoons. Rabbit, squirrel and other wild game sometimes made it into their diet. As well, steamed camas roots were typical in the Blackfoot diet.The transportation of this tribe was not like other tribes. They used a variety of methods to get around. When they traveled by river, they would built rafts. As well, they also used dogs to help them pull their supplies from one spot to another. This was much like the dog sled of today, but it had a different name. The Siksika called it a travois. Once the white man came and settled, they brought the horse, which was quickly accepted by this first nation tribe as way of traveling.There were many interesting and unique facts about the Siksika including the fact that women who were widows would ride out to war with the men. Another fact is about the famous Blackfoot Chief, Crowfoot. He led the tribe in the late 1800's. He was famous for negotiating peace between the white man (government) and his nation. He fought for the rights of the Blackfoot, and especially against the introduction of alcohol, which upset the tribe.

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