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History & Purpose

History & Purpose

The Blackfoot Confederacy is a Regional Managing Organization for the Blackfoot Confederacy Nations of Kainai-Blood Tribe, Siksika, Peigan-Piikani and Aamskapi Pikuni.

Traditional Blackfoot Territory Prior To 1600

Since time immemorial, the Children of the Plains, the Blackfoot, have roamed a traditional territory that stretched from the North Saskatchewan River in Alberta and Saskatchewan to the Yellowstone River in the state of Montana, from the Continental Divide in the west to the Great Sand Hills in the province now known as Saskatchewan.

The Blackfoot Confederacy has a population of 22,000 which is 25% of the Indigenous population of Alberta . The Blackfoot Confederacy population for North America is close to 45,000 as our traditional territory is south of the North Saskatchewan River, east of the Rocky Mountains close to the Manitoba border, south into North Dakota, almost all of Montana – home of the Aamskapi Pikuni (Blackfeet) south and west to the Wyoming border.

The Blackfoot Treaty (a.k.a Treaty #7) was made at Soyohpowahko-Blackfoot Crossing on the Siksika Reserve in September 22, 1877 the Chiefs of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Mikaisto-Chief Redcrow, Isapomahksika-Chief Crowfoot, Chief Sitting on an Eagle Tail made a peace treaty with the newcomers, the Sarcee and Nakoda nations to share our territory in exchange for education, health, and other privileges to ensure the sustainability of our Niitsitapi – Siksikaitsitapi (traditional ways of the Blackfoot Confederacy) People.

History of Siksikaitsitapi – The Declaration of the Blackfoot Confederacy

The Blackfoot Confederacy or Siksikaitsiitapi consists of the following Nations/Tribes; Amsskapipiikunniwa (Blackfeet Tribe) located in northern Montana, U.S.A., Kainaiwa (Blood Tribe), Siksikawa (Siksika Nation) and Aapatohipiikunniwa (Piikani Nation), located in southern Alberta, Canada.

These Nations have since time immemorial, occupied their collective traditional territory, bounded on the north by the North Saskatchewan River, on the east by the confluence of the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers, on the south by the Yellowstone River, and on the west by the Rocky Mountains. This said territory has been given to us by the Creator to live in harmony with all of creation. This Traditional Territory is marked with our sacred sites including, but not limited to Ninastako (Chief Mountain), Iini Ksiskom (Buffalo Springs), Moko’ waansin (Belly Buttes), Soyioh’powah’ko (Blackfoot Crossing), Miistuki’sts Koowa (Castle Mountain), Aiyii Ki’mikoi (Cypress Hills), Hand Hills, Old Man River, Yellowstone River, North Saskatchewan River, Table Mountain, Crows Creek, Sand Hills, Big Horn Medicine, Sweet Pine Hills, Kai’skah’piiks (Porcupine Hills), Oiskit’tsi’poi’iystuki (Heart Butte Mountain) and Whale Back Ridge. The Blackfoot Confederacy continues to connect to these sacred sites thru stories, songs and ceremonies, while collectively maintaining Blackfoot culture and the Blackfoot language in accordance with the Creator’s teachings.

The Blackfoot Confederacy Tribes entered into Inaistsyi (Peace Treaties) with the American and Canadian governments. Inaistsyi was a sacred covenant that was to last for the lifetime of the parties. These treaties were intended to establish peace and prosperity for both sides.

The International boundary (49th Parallel) between Canada and the United States of America (USA). arbitrarily divided the Blackfoot Confederacy resulting in restricted access to our traditional territories as well as interference with our Spiritual, Economic, Social and Political relationships.

In order to maintain, renew and strengthen our political and economic sovereignty over Kitaowahsinnoon (traditional Blackfoot Confederacy territory) and to maintain, renew and strengthen the spiritual and social relationships within Blackfoot culture, it was decided to create a formal unification organization – the Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council.

The Blackfoot Confederacy has been established to bring the four Nations together to deal with common issues, with external entities such as the Government of Alberta (GoA), Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), Assembly of First Nations (AFN). Formalizing the unification of the Blackfoot Nations will facilitate an integrated and effective approach to implementing initiatives designed for the betterment of the lives of the Blackfoot people.

The Declaration of Siksikaitsiitapiwa or Blackfoot Confederacy was signed in Lethbridge on the 25th of May 2000.

Blackfoot Confederacy Organization Structure

Vision
Siksikaitsitapi, honoring and utilizing the past, into the present, for the future Blackfoot way of life.

Mission
To collaborate, restore, protect, honor and enhance the collective culture, language and self-identity of the Blackfoot People; and to establish political and economic sovereignty over the Traditional Territory, including natural resources, for the benefit of current and future generations of the Blackfoot People.

Values
The Blackfoot Confederacy is inspired by:
• Respect for each other
• Wisdom from our Elders and our teachings
• Courage from our beliefs and history
• Hope for our youth

PRIORITY AREAS

The Blackfoot Confederacy has seven priority areas, as identified by the participants of planning sessions:

  1. Blackfoot Culture and Language – To maintain, control, protect, develop and strengthen Blackfoot cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, oral traditions, and literatures.
  2. Political and Legal – To ensure Treaty relationships are respected and honoured and Blackfoot Confederacy rights are protected; strong Nation to Nation relationships are developed; and appropriate representation and advocacy takes place at the provincial and national levels in order to advance Blackfoot Confederacy interests.
  3. Economic Development – To improve the economic well-being and quality of life of Blackfoot Confederacy members by strengthening employment and entrepreneurship, by developing trade and other agreements to leverage advantage for the Blackfoot Confederacy, by jointly developing sectors that are beneficial to the Blackfoot Confederacy.
  4. Social – To develop sectors such as health, education, housing and wellness that contribute to the all-round development of the Nations within the Blackfoot Confederacy, resulting in the elimination of gaps, increase in success rates, integration of culturally appropriate measures, and improvement of quality of life.
  5. Environment, Land and Climate Change – To determine and develop priorities and strategies for the protection, and sustainable development of lands and natural resources while incorporating traditional Blackfoot knowledge.
  6. Communications – To communicate effectively the priorities and activities of the Blackfoot Confederacy internally and externally in order to meet the Confederacy’s goals and achieve its vision.
  7. Blackfoot Confederacy Operations – To develop the core of the Blackfoot Confederacy, including its day to day operations to ensure achievement of its goals and effective coordination with the Nations.
    These overarching priorities have been defined into goals and objectives to be achieved over the five-year period. An Operations Plan will be developed to further define annual tasks that will contribute to accomplishing the objectives.