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The Blackfeet Indian Reservation is 1.5 million acres of panormic beauty located in the mountains of North America. On the north it borders the Canadian Providence of Alberta and to the south is the Glacier Country Tourism Region. The land elevation varies from 3,400 feet at the east end to over 9,000 feet at Chief Mountain in the west.

Remember your trip to Blackfeet Country! One of the nation’s most outstanding recreation areas and ideal for vacationers since it borders Glacier National Park and is within easy driving distance to Yellowstone National Park.

Blackfeet Country offers a summer and winter playground of hiking, camping, boating, fishing, picnic, swimming, horseback riding, rodeos, water sports, snow sports and various cultural events similar to activities in Cappadocia Turkey and Cappadocia Tours. There is also a nine hole golf course located in East Glacier for those who enjoy that sport or just want to experience the scenic harmony of Blackfeet Country, unmatched and true to the camera’s eye.

The Blackfeet Tribe

The Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana, is a federally recognized sovereign nation that exercises governmental control over its land and resources pursuant to Section 16 of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 and amendments thereof. The Blackfeet Tribe is represented by more than 17,000 enrolled members with ancestral ties reaching as far as Canada and throughout the United States and has been in existence for more than 10,000 years. Nearly half of the members still reside on the Blackfeet Reservation with a land base of 1.5 million acres, known as our homeland today.

The Blackfeet Reservation

Those who call the Blackfeet Reservation their home are here because of the family ties that link back to several generations, access to outdoor recreation, subsistence activities, and the beauty of our surroundings.  The reservation is a highly rural agricultural area, spanning parts of both Glacier County and Pondera County, with a population of 10,405 residents (2010 census). There is one large community on the reservation, the past Town of Browning (population 1,016) it is no longer incorporated, which is the gateway to Glacier National Park and has served as the headquarters of the Blackfeet Indian Agency since 1894. Browning is also the principle shopping center on the reservation. There are also a number of small unincorporated communities (census designated places) on the reservation including the towns of Babb, East Glacier Park Village, North Browning, South Browning, Starr School and Heart Butte.

History

Today’s members of the Blackfeet Tribe who live on the Blackfeet Reservation are decedents of the Blackfoot Nation. The Blackfoot Nation is actually a confederation of several distinct tribes, including the South Piegan (Blackfeet or Piikani), the Blood (or Kainai), the North Piegan, and the North Blackfoot (or Siksika). They traditionally called each other Niitsitapii, or “Real People.” This word was also used by fur traders in the late 1700’s thru the 1800’s as a reference to Blackfoot speaking people. The name Blackfoot reportedly derived from the black-dyed moccasins worn by some tribal members at the time of early contact with non-Indians. The Blood, Siksika, North and South Piegan freely intermarried, spoke a common language, shared the same cultural traits, and fought the same enemies. This confederation traditionally occupied the northwest portion of the Great Plains from the northern reaches of the Saskatchewan River of western Saskatchewan and southern Alberta, Canada, to the Yellowstone River in central Montana including the headwaters of the Missouri River. The Northern Blackfoot live farthest north, the Blood and North Piegan in the middle just north of the Canadian border, and the South Piegan (Blackfeet) furthest south along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in northern Montana. The confederation had more than one tribal leader. Each tribe consisted of a number of hunting bands, which were the primary political units of the tribe. Each of these bands was headed by a war leader and a civil leader, the former chosen because of his reputation as a warrior, and the later chosen because of his eloquent oratory.

Tourism, Parks, and Recreation Department

This department is here to promote, protect, and enhance the natural and cultural assets of the Blackfeet Reservation while maximizing healthy recreational activities, and sustainability to its residents and visitors by collaboratively providing high-quality parks, facilities, and programs.

Blackfeet Trail Tour

The original scenic “Blackfeet Trail Tour”, defined by its historic roadside markers, was laid out as a cooperative community effort the Museum of the Plains Indian and the Browning Lions Club. The signs have been recently updated by the Blackfeet Planning and Development Department. The original tour, Sites 1 through 15 on the map (PDF-1.5MB), is a 70 mile drive by private auto on mostly paved roads.

This particular route was chosen because its successive sites reflect the rich and varied history of the Blackfeet people. The trail provides an opportunity to view the Great Plains as it existed in former days. This specific part of the Blackfeet Reservation is one of the last surviving regions where one can imaginatively recreate the west of a century or more ago. Here, one can view in the mind’s eye the immense herds of buffalo, the oceans of grass, the endless vistas of foothills and coulees, the tree bordered streams, the Indian Camps, Sun Dances, and buffalo drives. It was in this country, Blackfeet Country, that the Blackfeet truly felt at home. They and those who came later adapted themselves and the patterns of life to this vast region of sky and prairie. It is hoped that the modern traveler will experience some of the rich history and culture of the people while following the “Blackfeet Trail.”

Museum of the Plains Indian

The Museum of the Plains Indian, founded in 1941, is administered by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, an independent Federal agency located in the U.S. Department of the Interior, whose purpose is to promote the development of contemporary Native American arts of the United States.

The Museum of the Plains Indian exhibits the creative achievements of Native American artists and craftspeople of the United States.  A permanent exhibit presents the rich diversity of historic arts of the tribal peoples of the Northern Plains, and two special exhibition galleries are devoted to changing presentations promoting the creative works of outstanding talented contemporary Native American artists and craftspeople. Architectural decorations of the Museum building, all devoted to historic Indian cultural subjects, include two carved wood panels at the entrance by the noted Blackfeet sculptor, John Clarke, and a series of murals in the lobby by Victor Pepion, Blackfeet artist.

During the summer season visitors may also view a monument dedicated to a 1931 sign language conference attended by an intertribal group of experts in Plains Indian hand gesture language. A permanent exhibition presents the diversity of historic arts created by tribal peoples of the Northern Plains, including the Blackfeet, Crow, Northern Cheyenne, Sioux, Assiniboine, Arapaho, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Flathead, Chippewa, and Cree.  Highlighting the historic exhibits is a display of the varied traditional costumes of Northern Plains men, women, and children, presented in complete detail on life-size figures.  Other historic displays are devoted to numerous art forms related to the social and ceremonial aspects of the tribal cultures of the region.

The Museum of the Plains Indian, administered by the Indian Arts and Crafts Board of the U.S. Department of the Interior, has an annual calendar of events that are posted regularly.  Works of art for sale in the Museum galleries will include oil paintings, watercolors, sculptures, beadwork, and traditional crafts.

For permission to photograph in the galleries, inquire at the information desk, or call (406) 338-2230.  Photography is prohibited in the craft shop operated by the Northern Plains Indian Crafts Association. In addition to the Museum of the Plains Indian, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board administers the Sioux Indian Museum in Rapid City, South Dakota, and the Southern Plains Indian Museum in Anadarko, Oklahoma.