First Nations Artifacts (Photo Diary)

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The Fort-Museum of the North West Mounted Police in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada has a building dedicated to First Nations artifacts. Fort Macleod was first founded on an island in the Oldman River in 1874 as a post for the newly formed North West Mounted Police (who would later become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police). The Blackfoot Gallery tells the story of local First Nations people.  

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Shown above is a diorama of a pishkin (buffalo jump).

The Blackfoot Nation (also known as the Blackfoot Confederacy) consists of three tribes: the Blackfoot tribe (Siksika), the Blood tribe (Kainai), and the Peigan tribe (Pikani). All speak the same language and call themselves Soyi-tapi (Real People).

Currently the Blackfoot (Siksika) have a reserve located east of Calgary and have a tribal population of about 6,000. The Kainai, whose name means Many Chiefs, have the largest reserve in Canada. There are about 10,000 Kainai. Pikani means Scabby Robes and their reserve is centered around the town of Brocket. There are about 3,500 Pikani in Canada. The South Piegan, known officially as Blackfeet, have a reservation in Montana which has about 10,000 tribal members. (The tribe name Peigan or Piegan is spelled differently, depending on which side of the border they are living).

The displays include photographs and paintings as well as First Nations artifacts and clothing.

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Shown above is an Indian-made saddle. While the stereotype is that Indians rode horses bare-back, nearly all Indian museums have examples of Indian-made saddles.

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Arts of Adornment:

This exhibit explores the artistry of First Nations decorative work as an expression of Native Spirituality.

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