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Amskapi Pikuni

The Blackfeet People

Alice Beck Kehoe, Clark Wissler, Stewart E. Miller

Publication Year: 2012

A contemporary history of one of the best-known American Indian nations. Written in collaboration with Blackfoot tribal historians and educators, Amskapi Pikuni: The Blackfeet People portrays a strong native nation fighting for two centuries against domination by Anglo invaders. The Blackfeet endured bungling, corrupt, and drunken agents; racist schoolteachers; and a federal Indian Bureau that failed to disburse millions of dollars owed to the tribe. Located on a reservation in Montana cut and cut again to give land to white ranchers, the Blackfeet adapted to complete loss of their staple food, bison—a collapse of what had been a sustainable economy throughout their history. Despite all of these challenges, the nation held to its values and continues to proudly preserve its culture.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright

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List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiii

Just a century ago, a young man who had grown up in Indiana farm country came out to Browning to purchase Blackfoot manufactures for exhibit and study in New York’s American Museum of Natural History. Clark Wissler hired as his interpreter David Duvall, son of Yellow Bird...

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Memorial to Stewart Miller

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pp. xv-xix

First and foremost among Amskapi Pikuni who assisted me in developing this book was Stewart E. Miller (1950–2008). Employed in the Blackfeet Tribe Planning Office, Stewart worked ceaselessly to build a database of information and photographs for Amskapi Pikuni history. He shared...

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1. Wissler’s 1933 Manuscript

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pp. 1-175

The usual published study of a tribal culture is projected on the assumption that the culture as described is a highly standardized form of social behavior, which existed with little change over an indefinite period of time preceding white contact. It is doubtful if this assumption is...

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2. The Amskapi Pikuni from the 1950s to 2010

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pp. 177-181

Young Blackfeet men were being drafted to the army or attending college. The young women of the reservation were being taught home economics. The United States Government began a revised relocation policy for young people. Under the relocation policy the Bureau of Indian...

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3. Bungling

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pp. 183-194

Clark Wissler’s concept of human ecology means more than the interactions of people with their landscape and natural resources: it covers political factors, too. The history of the Blackfeet Reservation is a chronicle of inept administrators pushing misguided policies. Graft and conniving...

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4. Schooling

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pp. 195-209

Formal schooling has been a divisive issue on the Blackfeet Reservation. “Education,” meaning schooling, was the instrument grasped by Anglo missionaries and their associates the United States and Canadian bureaus of Indian Affairs. Amskapi Pikuni attended U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs...

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5. The Ranchers

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pp. 211-227

The history of the Amskapi Pikuni covers a large number of families often called “mixed-bloods.” It’s been common to oppose “mixed-bloods” or “Progressives” to “full-bloods.” Reality has been, from one point of view, much more complex than that, or from another point of view, simpler...

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6. About Clark Wissler

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pp. 229-244

Clark Wissler was born September 18, 1870, on an Indiana farm, and died August 25, 1947, in New York City. Between 1902 and 1905, he traveled to several northern Plains reservations to record cultural practices and collect representative materials for the American Museum of Natural...

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pp. 245-246

Bounded on the south by a line drawn eastward from the Hell Gate or Medicine Rock passes to the nearest source of the Musselshell River, down that river to its mouth, and down the Missouri to the mouth of Milk River; on the east by a line due north...


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pp. 247-252


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pp. 253-267


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pp. 269-272

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781438443362
Print-ISBN-13: 9781438443355

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2012