Language: Blackfoot
Family: Plains Algonquian
Stock: Algonquian
Phylum: Algic
Macro-Culture: Great Plains
Speakers 4,745   1998 Census
      The Blackfeet were a large bellicose closely related language group and culture of the Northern Plains.  They slowly migrated to the Northern Plains from territories north of the Great Lake where they were sedentary hunter/farmers.  Upon arriving in the Northern Plains about A.D. 1650, they became nomadic hunter/gatherers using dogs as beasts-of-burden until they acquired horses in the mid-1700's.  Once in the west, they became three tribes relying heavily on buffalo for subsistence.
      The tribes were constantly at war with most of their neighbors including the Northern Shoshoni, Crow, Flathead, Kootenai, and the American fur trappers until the mid-1800's.  The tribes had difficulty in survival unitl after 1900.
Aboriginal Locations
North and northwest of Great Lakes
Present Locations
AB   Blackfoot (Siksika), Gleichan
         Blood (Kainai), Standoff
         Piegan (Piikani), Brocket
MT   Blackfeet Reservation, Browning
Year History
1650 Approximate time of gradual arrival of Blackfeet tribes on migration to Alberta and Montana from Saskatchewan and possibly Manitoba and Ontario as a result of the domino effect of the Beaver Wars
1730 Piegans defeated in an attack by mounted Northern Shoshoni, soon acquired guns and retaliated
1748 First French trappers in area
1754 Met Anthony Hendry, had horses
1760 Smallpox epidemic
1780 Buckingham House established
1781 Piegans attacked dying Northern Shoshoni camp, contracted smallpox, 50% deaths
1784 Declared relentless war on Northern Shoshoni, Flathead, and Kootenai
1787 Fur trader David Thompson wintered and traded with the Piegan, Northwest Company began trading with the Siksika and Blood
1794 Smallpox epidemic
1806 Piegans had skirmish with Meriweather Lewis at Two Medicine River
1824 Beginning of mountain man fur trade era and state of war with trappers
1831 Alfred Jacob Miller attributed tribe to killing 30-40 trapper annually, smallpox epidemic spread to Sioux
1839 Smallpox epidemic
1840 End of mountain man fur trade era
1844 Alexander Harvey killed 30 trading Piegans
1845 Alexander Culbertson negotiated peace treaties
1846 Small Robes band of Piegans destroyed by Crow
1855 Signed peace treaties
1859 St. Peters Mission established
1865 Bloods killed 10 wood cutters
1866 Piegans defeated Crow and Groz Ventres in large scale battle
1869 Smallpox epidemic
1870 Soldiers under Col. E. M. Baker massacred 173 Piegans, only 12 men of fighting age, "Massacre on the Marias"
1877 Treaty No. 7 in Canada
1882 Blood Reserve established
1884 Buffalo exterminated on the Plains, 600 Piegans starved, buried at "Ghost Ridge"
1895 Tribe sold what is now Glacier National Park for mineral exploration
1903 Fence built around entire reservation with only three gates
1904 Cut Bank boarding school established
1909 Reservation fence removed
1915 Began raising livestock
1919 Severe drought dropped cattle prices, forc the selling of land
1934 Lost lands due to Indian Reorganization Act
Year U.S. Population AB MT SK Source
1700 15,000 10,000 3,000 2,000 NAHDB calculation
1780 15,000 Mooney estimate
1790 8,000 Mackenzie estimate
1800 8,000 5,000 2,000 1,000 NAHDB calculation
1854 7,630 James Doty
1858 6,200 Hayden estimate
1900 5,000 2,700 2,300 NAHDB calculation 
1909 4,635 Census
1923 3,124 3,124 US Indian Office
1924 2,236 2,236 Canadian Dept. of Indian Affairs
1937 4,242 4,242 BIA
1981 6,632 6,632 BIA
1989 7,719 7,719 BIA
2000 30,000 16,000 14,000 NAHDB calculation
2004 18,900 4,200 14,700 Blackfeet & Siksika Tribes
2005 12,375 12,375 Blood and Piegan Tribes
Other speakers of the same language:
Blackfeet Sites:
Blackfeet Artists
Blackfeet Authors
Blackfeet/Blackfoot Indian Tribe Online Records
Blackfeet Community College
Blackfeet Constitution and By-Laws
Blackfeet History Tours and Cultural Workshops
Blackfeet Indian Reservation
Blackfeet Indian Reservation
Blackfeet Indian Reservation
Blackfeet Indians
Blackfeet Indians
Blackfeet Indian Tribe Online Records
Blackfeet Indian Writing Company
Blackfeet Nation
Blackfeet Nation
Blackfeet Tales
Blackfeet, The People
Blackfeet Tribal Law and Order Code
Blackfeet Tribe Immerses Students ...
Blackfoot Confederacy
Blackfoot Creation and Origin Myths
Blackfoot History
Blackfoot Indian Fact Sheet
Blackfoot Indian Nation
Blackfoot Indian Nations
Blackfoot Indians
Blackfoot Indians
Blackfoot Language
Blackfoot Language
Blackfoot Language and Syllabary
Blackfoot Linguistic Lineage
Blackfoot Nation
Blackfoot Nation
Blackfoot Nation
Blackfoot Photo
Blackfoot/Piegan Literature
Blackfoot Society
Blackfoot Tribe
Blackfoot Tribe Past and Present
Blackfoot Tribe Woman and Baby Photo
Blood Tribe
Browning and the Blackfeet Reservation
Browning, Montana
Ghost Dance
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre
History of the Blackfeet Tribe
Horse and the Blackfoot Indians
How a Piegan Warrior Found the First Horses
Lewis and Clark Blackfeet Corridor
Marginal Man
Mountain Chief (Ninastoko)
Origin of the Buffalo Dance
Origin of the Sweat Lodge
Piegan Crafts Ltd.
Piegan Institute
Piegan Institute and Language School
Piegan War Bonnet and Coup Stick
Shrinking Reservation, The
Siksika Nation
Siksika Nation - Treaty No. 7
Siyeh Corporation
Spanish Colonial Horses and the Plains Culture
Students Learn Blackfeet
"They Are a Fine Outfit Those Blackfeet"
Welcome to Blackfeet Country

Last updated 09/30/07  Copyright 2007 by Four Directions Press