The three Canadian Blackfoot bands and the American Blackfeet acknowledge a blood relationship with each other, and, while distinct, still consider themselves a nation. There are really only three Blackfoot bands. Those caught on the American side when the US – Canadian border was drawn became a separate tribe only because they came under US jurisdiction and the US Government mispelled their name. Collectively, they make up the Blackfoot Nation.
The Blackfoot / Blackfeet tribes are subdivided into gentes, a gens being a body of consanguineal kindred (blood relatives) in the male line. It is noteworthy that the Blackfeet, although Algonquins, have this system of subdivision, and it may be that among them the gentes are of comparatively recent date. No special duties are assigned to any one gens, nor has any gens, so far as I know, any special “medicine” or “totem.”
Each gens takes its name from some peculiarity or habit it is supposed to possess. It will also be noticed that each band has a few gentes common to one or both of the other bands. This is caused by persons leaving their own tribe to live with another one, but, instead of uniting with one of the gens of the adopted tribe, they have preserved the name of their ancestral gens for themselves and their descendants.
Chart of the gentes of each Blackfeet / Blackfoot tribe.
Blackfeet Gentes (Sik’-si-kau)
|Tsin-ik-tsis’-tso-yiks||Early Finished Eating|
Bloods Gentes (Kai’-nah)
|Ah-kwo’-nis-tsists||Many Lodge Poles|
|In-uhk!-so-yi-stam-iks||Long Tail Lodge Poles|
|Ah-kaik’-sum-iks I-sis’-o-kas-im-iks||Hair Shirts|
Piegans Gentes (Pi-kun’-i)
|Sik-ut’-si-pum-aiks||Black Patched Moccasins|
|Tsin-ik-sis’-tso-yiks||Early Finished Eating|
|Kut’-ai-im-iks||They Don’t Laugh|
|I-nuk-si’-kah-ko-pwa-iks||Small Brittle Fat|
|Ni-tot’-si-ksis-stan-iks||Kill Close By|
|Mo-kum’-iks||Red Round Robes|