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Native American Facts For Kids was written for young people in search of Blackfeet information for school or home-schooling reports. We encourage students and teachers to visit our main Blackfoot website for in-depth information about the tribe, but here are our answers to the questions we are most commonly asked by children, with Blackfoot pictures and links we believe are suitable for all ages. Photographs are the property of the sources we have credited.
|Here is the homepage of the Blackfeet Indian tribe of Montana. They have lots of information about Blackfeet history and culture on their site. You can also visit the homepage of Blackfoot elder Long Standing Bear Chief. You can find more information there about Blackfoot traditions in the past and today.|
|Blackfoot children do the same things all children do--play with each other, go to school and help around the house. Many Blackfoot children like to go hunting and fishing with their fathers. In the past, Indian kids had more chores and less time to play, just like colonial children. But they did have dolls, toys, and special games. Here is a picture of one type of hoop game popular among Blackfoot boys and girls. Like many Native Americans, Blackfoot mothers carried their babies in cradle boards on their backs--a custom which many American parents have adopted now.|
|Blackfoot women were in charge of the home. Besides cooking and cleaning, a Blackfoot woman built her family's house and dragged the heavy posts with her whenever the tribe moved. Houses belonged to the women in the Blackfoot tribe. Blackfoot men were big game hunters and sometimes went to war to defend their families. Most Blackfoot chiefs and warriors were men. Both genders took part in storytelling, artwork and music, and traditional medicine.|
|The Blackfoot lived in buffalo-hide houses called tipis (or teepees). Here are more teepee pictures for you to look at. Since the Blackfeet moved frequently to follow the buffalo herds, a tipi was carefully designed to set up and break down quickly, like a modern tent. An entire Blackfoot village could be packed up and ready to move within an hour. Today, Native Americans only put up a tepee for fun or to connect with their heritage, not as shelter. Most Blackfoot people live in modern houses and apartment buildings, just like you.|
Man's war regalia
Blackfoot women wore long deerskin dresses. Men wore buckskin tunics and
breechcloths with leggings.
Blackfoot dresses and war shirts were fringed and often
decorated with porcupine quills, beads, and elk teeth. Both Blackfeet women and men wore
moccasins on their feet, which they often adorned with beadwork designs.
Here are some pictures of Native American beaded moccasins.
In cold weather, they wore buffalo-hide robes. Later, Blackfoot people adopted some characteristics of
European costume such as calico dresses and felt hats. Here are more
images of Blackfoot clothing,
and some photos and links about
traditional Indian clothing in general.
Blackfeet chiefs wore tall feather headdresses, different from the long warbonnets of the Sioux. Here are some pictures of these different styles of Native American headdresses. Men wore their hair in three braids with a topknot or high pompadour, and women wore their hair loose or in two thicker braids. Blackfeet people painted their faces for special occasions. They used different patterns for war paint, religious ceremonies, and festive decoration. Sometimes men would tattoo their arms with geometric designs. Both men and women pierced their ears and wore shell jewelry.
Today, some Blackfoot people still wear moccasins or a buckskin shirt, but they wear modern clothes like jeans instead of breechcloths... and they only wear feathers in their hair on special occasions like a powwow.
|No--the Blackfoot Indians weren't coastal people, and when they traveled by river, they usually built rafts. There were no horses in North America until colonists brought them over from Europe, so the Blackfeet used to use dogs pulling travois (a kind of drag sled) to help them carry their belongings over land. Once horses were introduced the Blackfoot culture quickly adopted to them and the people became much more migratory.|
|The Blackfoot staple food was buffalo. Blackfoot men usually hunted the buffalo by driving them off cliffs or stalking them with bow and arrow. As they acquired horses, the Blackfoot tribe began to pursue the buffalo herds for communal hunts, moving their villages often as the buffalo migrated. In addition to buffalo meat, the Blackfoot Indians also ate small game like ground squirrels, nuts and berries, and steamed camas roots, and they often traded with neighboring agricultural tribes to get corn and beans. Here is a website with more information about Plains Indian foods.|
What were Blackfoot weapons and tools like in the past?|
Blackfoot hunters and warriors fired arrows from powerful longbows or fought with clubs and hide shields. Traditionally most warriors were men, but some Plains Indian women, especially widows, would ride to war with the men. The Blackfoot woman demonstrating a war bow in this picture is a World War II veteran. Here is a website with pictures and more information about Blackfoot Indian weapons.
|Blackfoot people are known for their fine quill embroidery and native beadwork designs. Blackfoot artists would also record historical events on colorful animal-hide paintings. Here is a Southern Piegan hide painting depicting a battle with the Sioux, and a photo gallery featuring Blackfoot beadwork and artifacts.|
|One famous Blackfoot Indian chief was Crowfoot, who led the Blackfoot people in Canada during the second half of the 19th century. Crowfoot was an accomplished warrior and a gifted diplomat. He was most famous for negotiating peace between the Blackfoot Nation and the Canadian government, and for fighting alcoholism among the Blackfoot people. Crowfoot was also the adopted father of the Cree chief Poundmaker, and became close friends with the Sioux leader Sitting Bull. You can read an online biography of Crowfoot here.|
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