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Characteristic of Blackfoot Indian Tribes
The term Blackfoot is derived from the English translation of the word ‘siksika’ which means ‘black foot’ and refers to the dark moccasins worn by Blackfoot Indian tribe people. The Blackfoot Indians were great hunters of buffalo who lived in nomadic tribes of between 80 to 240 people. They formed warrior societies into which brave warriors were admitted based upon their heroic deed, and brave acts of courage.
The members of a Blackfoot Indian tribe spoke a language called Pikunii. This is language was lyrical and musical to the ear with complex word formations. The language was learned by word of mouth and there was no written language.
The Blackfoot Indian tribe people lived in teepees, which were erected from long poles and covered with buffalo hide. The teepee was quickly set up and easily dismantled when the tribe was on the move, following the buffalo herds. It resembled a modern tent and an entire tribe could be ready to leave within an hour.
The tribeswomen in a Blackfoot Indian tribe would wear long dresses made from deer skin with fringes. The men would wear buckskin tunics and leggings with their breech cloths. Decorative items like feathers, beads and quills were commonplace.
The tribe would travel using dogs that pulled a sort of dragging sled called a travois. They would migrate overland with the travois carrying their belongings. As Blackfoot people were not a coastal tribe, they had to build rafts when they crossed rivers. After horses were introduced to the United States by colonists from Europe, the Blackfoot tribe adopted the horses for travel and warfare and became more nomadic in their lifestyle.
Weapons of the Blackfoot Tribe
Most of the weapons of Blackfoot warriors consisted of long bows and arrows. They were expert hunters and were adept at hunting the buffalo, the staple food of the Blackfoot. They also fought with clubs and defended themselves from direct personal attack with shields made from hide. Their war strategy differed from Europeans in that they fought to prove courage and not to defeat, subdue or destroy other tribes and never battled for territorial conquest.
The Blackfoot Indian tribe displayed agility in hunting buffalo that outranked other tribes. Their nomadic lifestyle was aided by dogs and later horses. They seldom fought over land but were great warriors in their own right.