Blackfeet Indians

Blackfeet Indians, a confederacy of three tribes of the northern plains—the Siksika, or Blackfeet proper; the Bloods, or Kainah; and the Piegans. They were the westernmost group belonging to the Algon-quian language family. Their name probably came from the wearing of moccasins blackened by ashes or dye.

The Blackfeet were nomadic hunters who lived in Saskatchewan until the 1700's, when they gradually moved southwest in pursuit of buffalo. They were one of the largest and most warlike groups of Indians on the northern plains and were famous for their horsemanship and skill with weapons. They kept large herds of horses, mostly stolen in raids, and were perpetually fighting with their neighboring tribes. The Blackfeet were regarded as the bitterest enemies of the early trappers. However, they did not fight in any extensive wars involving troops.

The Blackfeet live today mainly on reservations in southern Alberta and northwestern Montana, their traditional tribal lands. Discovery of oil and natural gas on Blackfeet land in Montana has brought some measure of prosperity to the tribe.

The main Blackfeet community in Montana is Browning, near Glacier National Park. It is the site of the Museum of the Plains Indian and the annual North American Indian Days celebration.