n.1. a member of a North American tribe of Indians of Algonquian stock.2. the Algonquian language of the Blackfeet.adj.3. of or pertaining to the Blackfeet.[1785-95; trans. of Blackfoot siksíka]/blak"foot'/, n.a town in SE Idaho. 10,065.
* * *or BlackfeetGroup of Algonquian-speaking Indian peoples in Alberta, Can., and Montana, U.S., comprising the Piegan (Pikuni or Blackfeet), the North Piegan Pikuni, the Blood (Kainai), and the Blackfoot proper (Siksika). Together they are referred to as Siksika, or Blackfoot, a name thought to have derived from the discoloration of moccasins with ashes. They were among the first Algonquians to move westward from timberland to open grassland and, later, among the first to acquire horses and firearms. They were known as the strongest and most aggressive military power on the northwestern plains. At the height of their power, in the first half of the 19th century, they held a vast territory extending from northern Saskatchewan to southwestern Montana. Each group was subdivided into hunting bands led by one or more chiefs. These bands wintered separately but came together in summer to celebrate the sun dance. For three decades beginning in 1806, the Blackfoot prevented white men from settling in their territory. They signed their first treaty with the U.S. in 1855, after which they were forced into farming and cattle raising. Some 10,000 Blackfoot live in Canada, and more than 27,000 claimed sole Blackfoot descent in the 2000 U.S. census, although only 15,000 U.S. Blackfoot are enrolled members.In a Piegan lodge, photograph by Edward S. Curtis, 1910; from The North American IndianCourtesy of the Edward E. Ayer Collection, The Newberry Library, Chicago
* * *city, seat (1885) of Bingham county, southeastern Idaho, U.S., near the confluence of the Snake (Snake River) and Blackfoot (Blackfoot River) rivers. Founded on the Utah Northern Railroad in 1878 at the northern edge of Fort Hall Indian Reservation (1869), the city evolved as the centre of an irrigated agricultural (chiefly potato-growing) area. Development was stimulated by the establishment in 1949 of the National Reactor Testing Station (now Idaho National Engineering Laboratory), 32 miles (51 km) to the northwest. Nearby is the site of the original Fort Hall trading post built in 1834 by Boston merchant Nathaniel Wyeth and operated from 1838 to 1856 by the Hudson's Bay Company. Inc. 1907. Pop. (1990) 9,646; (2000) 10,419.▪ peoplegroup of three closely related Algonquian (Algonquian languages)-speaking North American Indian tribes, comprising the Piegan, or Pikuni, the Blood, or Kainah, and the Siksika, or Blackfoot-proper (often referred to as the Northern Blackfoot). The three groups traditionally lived in what is now Alberta, Can., and Montana, U.S.Among the first Algonquians to move westward from timberland to open grassland, the Blackfoot probably migrated on foot using wooden travois drawn by dogs to transport their goods. In the early 18th century they were pedestrian buffalo hunters living in the Saskatchewan valley about 400 miles (645 km) east of the Rocky Mountains. They acquired horses and firearms before 1750. Driving weaker tribes before them, the Blackfoot pushed westward to the Rockies and southward into what is now Montana. At the height of their power, in the first half of the 19th century, they held a vast territory extending from northern Saskatchewan to the southernmost headwaters of the Missouri River.The Blackfoot were known as one of the strongest and most aggressive military powers on the northwestern Plains. For a quarter of a century after 1806, they prevented British, French, and American fur traders, whom they regarded as poachers, from trapping in the rich beaver country of the upper tributaries of the Missouri. At the same time, they warred upon neighbouring tribes, capturing horses and taking captives.Each Blackfoot tribe was divided into several hunting bands led by one or more chiefs. These bands wintered separately in sheltered river valleys. In summer they gathered in a great encampment to observe the Sun Dance, the principal tribal religious ceremony. Many individuals owned elaborate medicine bundles—collections of sacred objects that, when properly venerated, were said to bring success in war and hunting and protection against sickness and misfortune.For three decades after their first treaty with the United States in 1855, the Blackfoot declined to forsake hunting in favour of farming. When the buffalo were almost exterminated in the early 1880s, nearly one-quarter of the Piegan died of starvation. Thereafter the Blackfoot took up farming and ranching.Early 21st-century population estimates indicated some 90,000 individuals of Blackfoot descent in Canada and the United States.
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