The Blood, or Kainai, once occupied hunting grounds from the Red Deer River to the Belly River, but by the mid-19th century they had moved farther south to the Pakowki Lake, Belly River and Teton River regions. They often ranged far into Montana and traded as frequently with the American Fur Co as they did with the HUDSON'S BAY CO. They were a nomadic buffalo-hunting culture (see BUFFALO HUNT), with complex religious traditions and the reputation for being fierce warriors. Their enemies included the CREE, KOOTENAY, Shoshoni and Crow nations. The population of the Blood during the nomadic period was from 2500 to 3500, dropping to a low of 1750 people after the 1837 smallpox epidemic, and rising to 8338 by 1996.
The leading chief of the nation in the late 1700s was Bull Back Fat, who was succeeded by 2 descendants bearing the same name. The second Bull Back Fat made peace with the Americans in 1831, permitting them to open trading posts on the upper Missouri River. In 1855 the Blood, under Father of Many Children, Bull Back Fat and Seen From Afar, signed a treaty with the Americans. In 1877 Seen From Afar's nephew, RED CROW, was the chief signer of Treaty No 7 with the Canadian government and remained leader of the nation until his death in 1900.
Initially the Blood were given a reserve adjacent to the Blackfoot (Siksika) on the Bow River, but in 1880 they moved to a new site between the St Mary River and Belly River, where they established the largest INDIAN RESERVE in Canada. In the 1890s the Blood launched a successful ranching industry, and after the turn of the century they became large-scale farmers. Over the years, they gained the reputation of being hardworking, proud people who retained many of their cultural values. Like other indigenous communities, they faced the stresses of integration and social breakdown, but have been relatively more successful in dealing with these problems than other First Nations people.
Author HUGH A. DEMPSEY
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples
The website for the "Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples." Click on the links for feature articles about Canada's many multicultural communities, access to their extensive digital archives collection, learning modules, and much more. From "Multicultural Canada."
Four Directions Teachings
Elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq share teachings about their history and culture. Animated graphics visualize each of the oral teachings. This website also provides biographies of participants, transcripts, and an extensive array of learning resources for students and their teachers. In English with French subtitles.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...