Blackfoot / Blackfeet

The Blackfoot began making contact with white traders in 1750. However, they were not in direct contact with any governmental or commercial activities except the fur trade until 1850.  By 1855, their US reservation had been established.

The most famous leaders and chiefs of the Blackfoot tribe included:

Morning Owl - Blackfeet (Pikuni),

Chief Running Rabbit

Old Woman (a.k.a. Ermine Horses)

Captain Jack

Yellow Horse

Chief White Calf - Instrumental in selling the US the lands that now make up the eastern half of Glacier National Park.

Chief Lame Bull - Negotiated the treaty of 1855, which became known as the Lame Bull Treaty, and established the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. Originally it included the eastern area of Glacier National Park up to the Continental Divide.

To the Blackfeet, the mountains of this area, especially Chief Mountain and the region in the southeast at Two Medicine, were considered the "Backbone of the World" and were frequented during vision quests.

In 1895, Chief White Calf authorized the sale of the mountain area, some 800,000 acres (3,200 km²), to the U.S. government for $1.5 million with the understanding that they would maintain usage rights to the land for hunting as long as the ceded stripe will be public land of the United States.

This established the current boundary between Glacier National Park and the reservation.

Black Bear

Crop Eared-Wolf

Red Crow (a.k.a.Sitting White Buffalo, Mi'k ai'stowa)

Two Guns

Generous Women

Heavy Runner

Iron Shirt (Mehkskehme Sukahs)

Little Plume

Three Suns


Crowfoot, (ISAPO-MUXIKA - "Crow Indian's Big Foot", also known in French as Pied de Corbeau), Chief of the Big Pipes band (later renamed Moccasin band, a splinter band of the Biters band), Head Chief of the South Siksika, by 1870 one of three Head Chiefs of the Siksika or the Blackfoot proper.  Negotiated a peace agreement with the Canadian government.

Old Sun (Sun Old Man - NATOS-API, until 1860 also known as White Shell Old Man) (About 1819 - d. 26 Jan. 1897), a revered medicine man, Chief of the All Medicine Men band (Mo-tah'-tos-iks - “Many Medicines”), Head Chief of the North Siksika,[63] one of the three Head Chiefs of the Siksika

Aatsista-Mahkan (Running Rabbit) (About 1833 - d. January 1911) - Since 1871, he was Chief of the Biters band (Ai-sik'-stuk-iks) of the Siksika, signed Treaty No.7 in 1877, along with Crowfoot, Old Sun, Red Crow, and other leaders.

A-ca-oo-mah-ca-ye (Ac ko mok ki, Ak ko mock ki, A’kow-muk-ai - “Feathers”, since he took the name Old Swan) - Chief of the Old Feathers’ band since about 1820. His personal following, which consisted of about 400 persons, was known as the Bad Guns band,  along with Old Sun and Three Suns (No-okskatos) one of three Head Chiefs of the Siksika.

Red Crow (MÉKAISTO, also known as Captured the Gun Inside, Lately Gone, Sitting White Buffalo, and John Mikahestow) (c.1830 - d. 28 Aug. 1900) - Nephew of PEENAQUIM, Chief of the Fish Eaters band (Mamyowis) of the Kainai; after signing Treaty 7, he centralized control of several bands and became the leading Head Chief of the Kainai.

Peenaquim (Pe-na-koam, Penukwiim - “Seen From Afar”, “far seer”, “far off in sight”, “far off dawn”, also known as Onis tay say nah que im - “Calf Rising in Sight”, and Bull Collar), (c.1810 - d. 1869 from smallpox near Lethbridge),  son of Two Suns, Chief of the Fish Eaters band (Mamyowis), leading chief of the Kainai; his tribal following is estimated as 2,500 people in 1869

Calf Shirt (ONISTAH-SOKAKSIN, meaning Calf Shirt, also called Minixi, meaning Wild Person) (d. in the winter of 1873–74 at Fort Kipp, Alberta) - Chief of the Lone Fighters band (Nitayxkax) of the Kainai, was known for his hostility to white traders. One of the greatest  chiefs of the Kainai (Bloods).

Stu-mick-o-súcks (Buffalo Bull's Back Fat) - Head Chief of the Kainai, had his portrait painted at Fort Union in 1832.

Earl Old Person (Cold Wind or Charging Home) (1929-) - Tribal Chief and political leader. A member of the Blackfoot Tribal Business Council since 1954, he served as Tribal Chairman from 1964 to 2008. In July 1978, Old Person was appointed honorary lifetime Chief of the Blackfoot Nation. He has also served as president of the National Congress of American Indians and was inducted into the Montana Indian Hall of Fame. Earl is also a well known pow wow singer.

Elouise P. Cobell - Former tribal treasurer and founder of the Blackfeet Nation Bank (first tribally owned bank on an indian reservation). Although she didn't live to see the funds released, she was the initial instigator of the class action lawsuit that forced the US Government to pay billions to settle accounting errors going back nearly 300 years and mismanagement of land lease Trust Funds owed to native American land owners.

Gordon Belcourt (Meekskimeeksskumapi), which means "Mixed Iron Boy" (1945-2013) - Former Executive Director of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council and social activist. He also served as the President of the Blackfeet Community College.

Donna Hutchinson - Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Bella Vista, Arkansas, service from 2007 to 2013

Steve Reevis (b. August 14, 1962) - Actor (Geronimo: An American Legend, The Missing, Fargo, Last of the Dogmen, Comanche Moon). His first movie job was as a stunt rider in the 1987 film War Party which also had his brother, Tim. Tim later performed in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show at Disneyland in Paris. Steve's first acting roles, in 1988 was in Universal's Twins. His non-speaking role as Cheyenne Warrior #1 in the highly acclaimed Dances With Wolves in 1990 brought face recognition for the young actor and helped to open doors for additional roles.

Misty Upham (1982-2014) - Actor (Frozen River, Expiration Date, Edge of America, Skins and Skinwalkers). She also played housekeeper Johnna in August: Osage County and Liz in Cake with Jennifer Aniston. She died in a mysterious accident in 2014, which local police failed to investigate in a timely manner.

Ivan Naranjo (1937-2013) - Actor who worked as a horse back rider for "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show" in Disneyland Paris as Chief Sitting Bull. He was also a member of the Southern Ute.

Byron Chief-Moon - Performer and choreographer

Jerry Potts  (also known as Ky-yo-kosi - “Bear Child”)  (1840–1896) - He was a Canadian-American plainsman, buffalo hunter, horse trader, interpreter, and scout of Kainai-Scottish descent. He identified as Piegan and became a minor Kainai chief.

Black Lodge Singers - Traditional music and northern drum group.  Led by Kenny Scabby Robe, of the Blackfeet Nation, the Black Lodge Singers include his twelve sons. They have released twenty Northern Drum albums for Canyon Records, including two albums of pow wow songs for children.

Heart Butte Singers -Northern Drum Group

Young Grey Horse Society - Northern Drum Group

Siksika Ramblers - Northern Drum Group

Two Medicine Lake Singers - Northern Drum Group and dance troupe.

Troy De Roche - Flute Player

Jack Gladstone - Montana's Traubadour and Blackfeet poet singer.

Rickey Medlocke - Lead singer/guitarist of Blackfoot.

Shorty Medlocke - Blues musician (Rickey's grandfather)

Faye HeavyShield - Kainai sculptor and installation artist.

Joe Hipp -  Heavyweight boxer, the first Native American to compete for the WBA World Heavyweight Title.

Stephen Graham Jones - Author

James Welch (1940–2003) - Blackfoot-Gros Ventre author.

Thomas A. Thompson (Siksapope - Black Plume) - Indian Educator with presidential appointments under Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. Former Blackfeet tribal councilman.

Blackfoot / Blackfeet Tribes:

The Blackfoot Confederacy consists of the North Piegan (Aapatohsipiikanii), the South Piegan (Aamsskaapipiikanii), the Kainai Nation (Blood), and the Siksika Nation ("Blackfoot") or more correctly Siksikawa ("Blackfoot people").

The South Piegan are located in Montana, and the other three are located in Alberta.

Together they call themselves the Niitsitapii (the "Real People"). These groups shared a common language and culture, had treaties of mutual defense, and freely intermarried.

"Blackfoot Cherokee" refers to a band of Cherokee that had black ancestry, most likely from the adoption of escaped slaves into their society. This band of Cherokee, however, have no connection to the Blackfoot nations.


Article Index:

Chief Stabbed-by-Nustah, Blackfeet Chief

Chief Stabbed-by-Nustah was a Blackfoot chief who is best known for protesting against the changing of the names of mountains, lakes, rivers and waterfalls in Glacier National Park.