The Blackfoot nation is comprised of three First Nations in Alberta, Canada (North Peigan, South Peigan, Kainai Nation) and one Native American tribe in Montana (Siksika Nation). Their language is of the Algonquian family and they have many beautiful stories that reflect their culture, language, geography and history. The two stories I chose to read are called “Legend of the Beginning,” and “Blood Clot Boy.”
“Legend of the Beginning” is a creation story about Old Man who travels through the land creating rivers, clay, mountains, prairies, forests, animals, plants and humans out of clay. He teaches the humans how to hunt, prepare food, make fire and create weapons. Old Man then creates more people and creates buffalos, which he teaches the humans to hunt and kill and prepare for food. After all of this, he climbed to the top of a mountain and watched his creation. He was pleased and decided to have some fun, so he used the mountain as a slide and created what is now known as ‘Old Man’s Sliding Ground.’ People today believe that the Old Man still exists and will come back some day with the buffalo that they believe the white man has hidden.
The buffalo has been a very important animal to the Blackfoot Nation. In the plains of Montana, buffalo were Blackfeet’s primary source of food. Blackfeet used the entire buffalo: skins for camouflage, clothes and tepees, bones for tools, stomach and bladder (which were used as storage containers for liquid), dung for fuel and tendons for rope. Because the buffalo was so important to their livelihood, it was a sacred creature. In the ‘Legend of the Beginning’ Old Man focuses very heavily on teaching the humans how to kill and prepare buffalo, which is a perfect reflection of how important the buffalo are to Blackfeet. In 1837, because of an American Fur Company, 6,000 Blackfeet died because of smallpox and cholera. This was just one small negative impact ‘white...
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