Blackfeet Nation

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 850
Browning, MT 59417

Contact Information




Cultural History

The Blackfeet Nation is said to be the largest and most dominant Indian tribe who are in Montana. The tribe has played an important role in the history of the United States. The tribe was originally from the Far East near the Great Lakes area. Some historians argue that the tribe even originated as far east as Labrador. Because of this, many anthropologists sometimes classify the tribe as one of the ancient eastern woodlands tribes. However, the Blackfeet are one of the members of the Algonquin linguistic group along with Cheyenne and Gros Ventre. 

It was said in their history that the Blackfeet were one of the first tribes to move west upon the arrival of the Europeans. Instead of battling out the west against the Cree, the tribe instead decided to move northward to the waters of Missouri. Their name also spelled controversy as their name was said to be derived from the blackened moccasins that they wore traditionally. The prairie fires are said to be the cause for the darkening of the hues. The tribe has been classified to be on loose alliance of the three semi-independent tribes namely the Piegan, whose descendants now live with the Blackfeet’s reservation, the Bloods who were the central group and the North Blackfeet. While the Piegans live with the Blackfeet reservation, the Bloods and the North Blackfeet are living in the Canadian reservations in Alberta. Along with the Blackfeet, these three spoke the common language and most of the time treated the Blackfeet territory as part of their own.

The Blackfeet were hunters, preying on dogs and buffalos. They adapted the nomadic style of living and never stayed in a place for a long period of time. They were often in search of a refuge until in the seventeenth century when they finally found the place called Province Saskatchewan. The place proved to be their habitat for a little while making use of the resources around them.  

In the years that came, they were given an allotment and their own settlement. However, the land given to them were not even suitable for cattle raising. Thus, they had to struggle to find a source of income. In 1964, a terrible disaster attacked the tribe and killed thirty Blackfeet. Many were left homeless while the infrastructures were destroyed. Soon enough, the Blackfeet found themselves once again in a predicament that threatened their future.

Good thing, though, the Blackfeet experienced increase in revenues coming from the gas revenues. Despite these, however, Blackfeet’s unemployment rate is facing major problems. There are even treaty and water rights conflicts. These problems are hindrances to the soon to be bright future of the Blackfeet. On December 1, 2002, the statistics showed that there are 15,441 enrolled Blackfeet members. An estimated 8,000 of this number lives in the reservation. Their current land property is at 1,462,640 acres yet almost 555,000 acres of these are owned by the non-Indians. Today, the tribe is still striving to find ways to improve their gas facilities in the hope that it would boost their economy. 

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