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Blackfoot Nation

History >> Native Americans for Kids

The Blackfoot Nation is made up of four tribes including three First Nation tribes in Canada and one Native American tribe in Montana. These tribes once lived throughout the northern Great Plains hunting bison herds.


The Blackfoot people lived in small bands throughout the northern Great Plains. They moved from place to place following the large bison herds. In the early 1800s, the Blackfoot were introduced to horses. Horses allowed them to cover a larger hunting ground and made it easier to hunt bison.

The Blackfoot soon became the dominant people in the northwestern Great Plains. They were fierce warriors and protected their territory from other tribes such as the Lakota Sioux and the Shoshone.

In the mid-1800s, the Blackfoot began to struggle due to the encroachment of white settlers. Overhunting caused the bison herds to dwindle and food became scarce. The Blackfoot signed treaties with the U.S. government that were later broken. They were forced to move to reservations in Montana and Canada and take up farming to survive.

Map of Traditional Blackfoot Land by Ducksters

What kind of homes did the Blackfoot people live in?

The Blackfoot lived in teepees made from bison hides and wooden poles. Teepees were easy to break down and set back up. This made them perfect for the nomadic lifestyle of the Blackfoot.

What language do they speak?

The Blackfoot have their own Blackfoot language. It is an Algonquian language, so they could communicate with other tribes who spoke similar languages. Some examples of Blackfoot words include "natosi" for "sun", "oki" for "hello", and "imitaa" for "dog."

What was their clothing like?

The Blackfoot wore clothing made from deerskin. Men wore breechcloths, leggings, and shirts. Women wore long dresses. In the winter, they kept warm with thick robes made from bison hides.

Blackfoot Indians by Unknown
What type of food did they eat?

The main food for the Blackfoot came from the bison. They hunted other animals when necessary such as deer, elk, and rabbits. The women gathered berries when they could. For the winter, they made a mixture called pemmican from dried bison meat, berries, and fat.

How did they get the name Blackfoot?

The origin of the name Blackfoot is a mystery. Some people say they got the name because they dyed their moccasins black. Other people think that soot from prairie fires turned their moccasins black earning them the name Blackfoot. Sometimes they are also referred to as the Blackfeet people.

Blackfoot Government

The early Blackfoot people had little in the way of government. They lived in small bands and each band had a chief. They sometimes had a separate war chief and civil chief. Today, the Blackfoot reservations are governed by a tribal council.

Interesting Facts about the Blackfoot People Activities For more Native American history:

Culture and Overview
Agriculture and Food
Native American Art
American Indian homes and Dwellings
Homes: The Teepee, Longhouse, and Pueblo
Native American Clothing
Roles of Women and Men
Social Structure
Life as a Child
Mythology and Legends
Glossary and Terms

History and Events
Timeline of Native American History
King Philips War
French and Indian War
Battle of Little Bighorn
Trail of Tears
Wounded Knee Massacre
Indian Reservations
Civil Rights

Tribes and Regions
Apache Tribe
Cherokee Tribe
Cheyenne Tribe
Iroquois Indians
Navajo Nation
Nez Perce
Osage Nation
Sioux Nation

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Crazy Horse
Chief Joseph
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Works Cited

History >> Native Americans for Kids

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