Blackfoot Indian Chiefs

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Various Blackfoot Indian Chiefs

A famous Blackfoot Indian Chief, Crowfoot, was head of the Blackfoot First Nation, or tribe, in Canada and led his people against the Canadian government in several raids during the late 19th century. He was a great warrior and an accomplished diplomat. He was instrumental in negotiating peace between the Canadian Government and the Blackfoot Nation. He strove to fight alcoholism among his people and was deeply mourned when he died on April 25, 1890.

Another famous Blackfoot Indian Chief was Aatsista-Mahkan, or Running Rabbit, the Anglicized version of his name. He was chief of the Siksika First Nation of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Canada and greatly admired for his generosity and kindness to his people. Chief Running Rabbit was a signatory to Treaty 7, one of seven treaties signed between the Blackfoot Nation and Queen Victoria, which essentially ceded the Blackfoot’s ancestral and territorial rights to land in Canada in exchange for limited reservation land. The legal title of the reserve land on which Blackfoot people were forced to settle is held by Her Majesty, the Queen of England by virtue of the Indian Act of Canada.

False Blackfoot Indian Chief

Sylvester Long claimed to be a Blackfoot Indian Chief going by the name Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance. In his autobiography published in 1928, he claimed that he was the son of a Blackfoot Chief. Long championed many Indian causes, and was a prominent writer and journalist, being the first American of Indian descent to be admitted to the Explorer’s Club in New York City.

Although he had white, African American and Indian ancestry, Long resembled an American Indian. He fought in World War I with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was adopted in 1922 by the Blackfoot Confederacy Kainai tribe who gave him the ceremonial name ‘Buffalo Child’. When Long’s false claim of being a Blackfoot Chief was exposed, he was quickly dropped by the social circles he moved in.

The deeds of Chief Crowfoot are noted in history as that of a famous Blackfoot Indian Chief who brought about peace between his people and the Government of Canada. There have also been imposters among Blackfoot Chiefs, most notably Sylvester Long who claimed to be Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance. The Blackfoot people are now settled in reservations in Canada.

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