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Blackfeet

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This article is about the Piegan Blackfoot, the band of the tribe located on the Blackfoot Nation in Montana. For the other Blackfoot bands, see Blackfoot.
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Crowfoot,_Head_Chief_of_the_Blackfoot_Nation.jpg
Crowfoot, former Head Chief of the Blackfeet Nation

The Piegan Blackfeet, Pikuni in Blackfoot, are a tribe of Native Americans, many of whom currently live in the Blackfeet Nation, in northwestern Montana with population centered in Browning. Several closely related tribes, the Kainah (Blood), Northern Peigan and Siksiki (Northern Blackfoot), live in Alberta, Canada and are sometimes also collectively referred to as Blackfoot. Ethnographic literature most commonly uses Blackfoot people, and most Blackfoot people use the singular Blackfoot, though the US and tribal governments officially use Blackfeet as in Blackfeet Indian Reservation and Blackfeet Nation as seen on official tribe website. The term Siksika, derived from Siksikaikwan - "a Blackfoot person" - may be used, as may, in English, "I am Blackfoot" or "I am a member of the Blackfeet tribe." (Nettl, 1989)

From the relations of the Blackfoot language to others in the Algonquian language family indicate that they lived in an area west of the Great Lakes. Though they practiced some agriculture, they were partly nomadic. They moved westward partially because of the introduction of horses and guns and became a part of the Plains Indians culture in the early 1800's. In 1900, there were an estimated 20,000 Blackfoot, while today there are approximately 25,000, and the population was at times dramatically lower as the Blackfeet suffered disease, starvation, and war. They held large portions of Alberta and Montana, though today the Blackfeet Reservation is the size of Delaware and the three reservations in Alberta have a much smaller area. (Nettl, 1989)

The Blackfoot language is also agglutinative. The Blackfoot do not have well documented male Two-Spirits, but they do have "manly-hearted women" (Lewis, 1941) who act in much of the social roles of men, including willingness to sing alone, usually considered "immodest", and using a men's singing style. (Nettl, 1989, p.84, 125).

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