Kainai travois

Kainai (Blood) women with travois.

The Blackfoot Confederacy or Niitsitapi was the collective name of three First Nation band governments in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. It is also a Native American tribe in Montana, United States. There were three tribes in Canada, the Siksika ("Blackfoot"), the Kainai or Kainah ("Many Chiefs") and the Northern Piegan ("Poor Robes") or Peigan or Pikuni, and one tribe in the United States: the Southern Piegan ("Poor Robes") or Pikuni in Montana.


Historically, the member peoples of the Confederacy were nomadic bison hunters and trout fishermen, who ranged across large areas of the northern Great Plains of Western North America, specifically the semi-arid shortgrass prairie ecological region. They followed the bison herds as they migrated between what are now the United States and Canada, as far north as the Bow River. In the first half of the 18th century, they acquired horses and firearms from white traders and their Cree and Assiniboine go-betweens. The Blackfoot used these to expand their territory at the expense of neighbouring tribes. Now riding horses, the Blackfoot and other Plains tribes could also extend the range of their buffalo hunts.

The systematic commercial bison hunting by white hunters in the 19th century nearly ended the bison herds and permanently changed Native American life on the Great Plains, since their main food was no longer abundant. Periods of starvation and deprivation followed, and the Blackfoot tribe was forced to adopt ranching and farming, settling in permanent reservations. In the 1870s, they signed treaties with both the United States and Canada, ceding most of their lands in exchange for annuities of food and medical aid, as well as help in learning to farm. Nevertheless, the Blackfoot have worked to maintain their traditional language and culture in the face of assimilationist policies of the both the U.S. and Canada.


After Skydark the Blackfoot Confederacy re-established itself in Montana. After a generation or two of peace, the two nations, his Blackfoot Confederacy and the Crow, were back to an on-again, off-again war of mutual raiding and occasional battles. (Devil's Vortex)

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