Blackfoot Tribe

Sihasapa (‘black feet’, so called because they wore black moccasins). A small division of the Teton Sioux. The name, like the names of some other Teton tribes, does not appear to have come into notice until a recent date, no mention being made of it by Lewis and Clark, Long, or earlier authorities. Catlin in his Letters and Notes, written during his stay among the northwestern Indians (1832-39), mentions the Blackfoot Sioux. In a note to De Smet’s Letters 1 they were estimated to number 1,500. Culbertson 2 estimated the tribe at 450 lodges, an exaggeration, and mentions five bands or subtribes, but does not locate them. It was not until Gen. Warren and Dr. Hayden visited their country that definite information in regard to them was obtained. The former (1856) makes the following brief notes: “Sihasapas Blackfeet. Haunts and homes same as the Unkpapas; number, 165 lodges. These two bands have very little respect for the power of the whites. Many of the depredations along the Platte are committed by the Unkpapas and Sihasapas, whose homes are farther from it than those of any other of the Titonwans.” Hayden (1862) says that they, the Hunkpapa and Sans Arcs, “occupy nearly the same district, and are so often encamped near each other, and otherwise so connected in their operations, as scarcely to admit of being treated of separately. That part of the country under their control lies along the Moreau, Cannonball, Heart, and Grand Rivers, seldom extending very high up on Grand River, but of late years reaching to the Little Missouri [in North Dakota]. Although the bands just mentioned are often stationed near each other, they are sometimes found several days’ journey apart, and each is headed by its own chief.” His estimate is 220 lodges. Subsequently the Sihasapa were gathered partly at Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota, and partly at Standing Rock Reservation, North Dakota.

The number on the former in 1878 was 224, and on the latter 590, a total of 814. They are no longer separately reported. J. O. Dorsey mentions the following bands:

  1. Sihasapakhcha
  2. Kanghishunpegnaka
  3. Glaglahecha
  4. Wazhazhe
  5. Hohe
  6. Wamnughaoin

Swift (1884) gives the same divisions, except that he omits Glaglahecha and includes Tizaptan. The first and third were given in a list of bands by Culbertson (1850), who enumerates also the Cuts, Those That Camp Next To The Last, Tashunkeota, and Devil’s Medicineman Band.

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

  1. 1843[]
  2. Smithson. Rep. 1850, 141, 1851[]

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