Map of the Blackfoot Reservation

Blackfeet Indian Reservation

“The present reservations of the Bloods (Kainau), and North Blackfeet, in the Province of Alberta, Canada, are along the same rivers, where their ancestors camped. The Piegans became subdivided into North and South Piegans, the former in Alberta, and the latter in North-western Montana.” 1

The Blackfeet Reservation was established when the treaty of 17 Oct. 1855 was entered into on the shores of Judith River, in what was in 1855, the Territory of Nebraska. 2 However, the actual boundaries for this reservation was established in the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1851. And is described as such in that document:

The territory of the Blackfeet Nation, commencing at the mouth of Muscle-shell River; thence up the Missouri River to its source; thence along the main range of the Rocky Mountains, in a southerly direction, to the head-waters of the northern source of the Yellowstone River; thence down the Yellowstone River to the mouth of Twenty-five Yard Creek; thence across to the head-waters of the Muscle-shell River, and thence down the Muscle-shell River to the place of beginning. 3

In the 1855 treaty, the Blackfoot nation (comprising of the Piegans) “consent and agree” to set apart a common hunting ground for several nations and tribes who signed onto the treaty. This hunting ground could not be settled upon by the Blackfoot, nor could they settle within 10 miles of its northern boundaries. 4 Setting this portion of the tribal lands apart from their exclusive usage, was intended to diffuse the claims made by other tribes that the Blackfoot had no exclusive right to the common hunting grounds, and to establish peace between the Blackfoot and the tribes which also used those hunting grounds.

Like the treaties of many Nations, the original allotted lands were quickly diminished through newer treaties and Acts of Congress, until the present day when the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana consists of about 1.4 million acres. I won’t go into detail here about each and every treaty, but if you’d like to further research this topic then you should search the following treaties and acts, and their implication on the Blackfeet Reservation.

Heart Butte District Survey – 1912 Blackfeet Allotment of Lands

 

Citations:

  1. The Old North Trail by Walter McClintock, pub. MacMillan and Co., Limited, St. Martin’s Street, London, 1910.[]
  2. Treaty With The Blackfeet, October 17, 1855, AccessGenealogy, online Data last viewed on 1 July 2013. This Treaty has been assigned a variety of names over the years, and may be known as the “Lame Bull Treaty,” the “Blackfoot Peace Treaty” and the “Judith River Treaty.[]
  3. Treaty of Fort Laramie with Sioux, etc. September 17, 1851, AccessGenealogy, online Data last viewed on 1 July 2013.[]
  4. Treaty With The Blackfeet, October 17, 1855, Ibid.[]

Topics:
Blackfeet, Land,

Collection:
Partridge, Dennis N. Heart Butte District Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Web.

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