Siksikaitsitap (Blackfoot Confederacy)

Geographic Location:

Montana, USA, and Alberta, Canada

Size of territory:

607,000 ha reservation in the USA 253,000 ha in three reserves in Canada

(Traditional territory spans a much larger area)

Number of communities:

Numerous small rural communities


17,000 in the USA / 9,500 in Canada


Niitsiipo’’sin “Real people language”

(Amskapii Piikuni / English)


The Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) is comprised of the Kainai (Blood), Piikani (Piegan), Siksika (Blackfoot), and Amskapii Piikuni (Blackfeet) Nations. Since time immemorial, the Siksikaitsitapi people have lived in a territory that stretches from the North Saskatchewan River in Alberta and Saskatchewan to the Yellowstone River in the state of Montana, from the Continental Divide in the west to the Great Sand Hills in the province now known as Saskatchewan. The settler colonial imposed reserves in Canada and U.S. total nearly 1 million hectares but represent a small fraction of the land in which Blackfoot culture, language, and livelihoods have historically been rooted.

In what is now known as Montana, the Amskapii Piikuni (Blackfeet) see themselves as caretakers of much of North America’s water resources since rivers flow from their territory east to the Atlantic, west to the Pacific, and north to the Arctic. Their lands include the spine of the continental divide and vast prairies laced with creeks and rivers and dotted with wetlands, ponds and large lakes. They have a major water compact with the U.S. government, a comprehensive Agricultural Resource Management Plan, and steward an array of resources.

The Blackfoot Confederacy brings to the Wayfinders Circle a rich storehouse of knowledge and inspiring initiatives to recover and sustain traditions, language and reciprocal relationships with land well beyond their official boundaries. In the U.S. the Blackfeet have waged a decades-long battle to prohibit gas drilling in sacred lands in the Badger-Two Medicine, a region controlled by the U.S. Forest Service just southwest of the Blackfeet Reservation. Now they are working to restore and bring bison back to another sacred place, around Yellow Mountain and Chief Mountain, adjacent to Glacier National Park.

Nitsiitupiittupyapii (Blackfoot lifeways) are being upheld by a diversity of leaders. Canadian Blackfoot members have helped their fellow Blackfeet in U.S. reestablish traditional societies, such as the Buffalo Bull Children Horn Society, which carry knowledge, songs, prayers, stories that were nearly lost due to a century of government suppression. Meanwhile, the Blackfeet Community College and Cuts Wood School, promote language instruction; BCC has a formal academic track in Piikani Studies.

Images provided and used under permission by the Blackfoot Confederacy. Copyright belongs to its rightful owners.