The Blackfoot People are one of the many Native American Indian tribes that roamed America in the early 1700s. Like many tribes they were nomadic hunters that lived in the Great Plains of Montana and the Canadian provinces of Alberta. The name is said to have come from the colour of the peoples shoes that were made of leather. They had typically dyed or painted the soles of their shoes black.
The society is hierarchical within the Blackfoot Nation; there were different societies to which people belonged, each of which had functions for the tribe. Young people were invited into societies after proving themselves by recognized passages and rituals. For instance, young men had to perform a vision quest, begun by a spiritual cleansing in a sweat lodge. They went out from the camp alone for four days of fasting and praying. Their main goal was to see a vision that would explain their future (. After having the vision, a youth returned to the village ready to join society. In a warrior society, the men had to be prepared for battle. Again, the warriors would prepare by spiritual cleansing, and then paint themselves symbolically; they often painted their horses for war as well. Leaders of the warrior society carried spears or lances called a coup stick, which was decorated with feathers, skin, and other tokens. They won prestige by ‘counting coup’ tapping the enemy with the stick and getting away. Members of the religious society protected sacred Blackfoot items and conducted religious ceremonies. They blessed the warriors before battle. Women’s societies also had important responsibilities for the communal tribe. They designed refined quillwork on clothing and ceremonial shields, helped prepare for battle, prepared skins and cloth to make clothing, cared for the children and taught them tribal ways, skinned and tanned the leathers used for clothing and other purposes, prepared fresh and dried foods, and performed ceremonies to help...
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