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Tiny Tipi

The Pikuni
A Historical Timeline

Tiny Tipi

Early 1700's Blackfoot probably living in valley of the Northern Saskatchewan River near the Eagle Hills in Canada. Hunt buffalo on foot with bows and arrows.  

1730 Blackfoot attacked by Shoshoni who are on horseback. First time the Blackfeet have seen horses which they call "elk dogs."

1730-50 Blackfoot probably acquired their first horses in peaceful trade with their neighbors, the Flathead, Kutenai, and Nez Perce.

1780 Hudson Bay Company builds Buckingham House on the Sasketchewan River in Canada, reaching Blackfeet country. Blackfoot obtain guns through trade.

1781 Small pox epidemic sweeps through Blackfoot country, killing hundreds.

1780-1805 Blackfoot almost exterminate the Shoshoni in battles over hunting territory.

1787 Blackfoot warriors journey south toward Sante Fe. Encounter Spanish miners and steal their horses.

1806 Meriweather Lewis (of Lewis and Clark) encounters Blackfoot (Piegan) at the junction of Two Medicine River and Badger Creek. Lewis kills one Piegan who was trying to steal a gun.

1809 Trader Alexander Henry compiles a census of the Blackfoot, finding a total of 5,200 people among the Piegan, Blackfoot, and Blood tribes.

1824 The Bureau of Indian Affairs established within the United States War Department.

1831 First peaceful trade between the Americans and Blackfoot by Kenneth McKenzie.

1831 Blackfoot horse raiders recorded at Arkansas River in southern Colorado.

1833 Prince Maxmillian, a German scientist-exploreer, and Karl Bodner, a Swiss artist, spend a month with the Blackfeet at Fort McKenzie. Maxmillian becomes the first white observer to describe the Blackfoot men's societies; Bodner paints portraits of Blackfoot leaders.

1837 Second smallpox pidemic kills nearly 6,000 Blackfoot, two-thirds of the total population.

1844 Blackfoot kill a trader. Traders retaliate.

1846 Father DeSmet conducts the first Catholic Mass among the Blackfoot, mainly children are baptized.

1849 War party of 800 Blackfoot attack Assiniboine horse raiders and kill 52.

1855 "Lame Bull's Treaty is signed. As first such peace traty between the Blackfoot and the US Government it defines the boundaries of "The Blackfoot Nation."

1860 White settlers begin to enter Blackfoot country.

1863 Annuity payments from the US Government to the Blackfoot do not arrive. Blackfoot send letter of protest to Washington.

1865 Fighting breaks out between the Blackfoot and white settlers.

1869 Malcolm Clark killed by Piegan warriors in retaliation for the killing of Mountain Chief's brother.

1870 Massacre on the Marias River. U.S. Soldiers mistakenly attack the camp of Heavy Runner, a friendly chief, while looking for the murderers of Clark. Over 200 killed, 140 women and children captured. Blackfoot never face the U.S. Army in battle again.

1872 First school for Blackfoot children opened at Teton River Agency.

1874 By act of Congress, the Blackfoot reservation boundary moved northward to Birch Creek-Marias River line. The Blackfoot are neither consulted nor remunerated.

1875 Agent John Wood urges the Blackfoot to organize. Little Plume elected as head chief, Generous Women and White Calf as subordinate chiefs. New tribal code written.

1876 Custer and his troops annihilated at Little Big Horn. No Blackfoot involved.

1878 Prairie fires destroy grasslands west of Canada's Cypress Hills, driving the great buffalo herds south into Montana, never to return north again.

1882 Blackfoot winter buffalo hunt in Montana is successful. No hint that the buffalo would disappear.

1883-84 Starvation Winter. Buffalo herds suddenly disappear. 600 Blackfoot starve during the winter and spring. The Blackfoot become sedentary people, dependent on government rations.

1889 First group of Blackfoot admitted to Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.

1892 Boarding school for the Blackfoot opens at Willow Creek, west of present-day Browning.

1893 Completion for the Great Northern Transcontinental Railroad through Blackfoot country.

1896 Blackfoot sell the land that is to become Glacier National Park for the sum of $1,500,00 to be paid at $150,000 per year for ten years.

1903 White Calf, last head chief of the Piegan Blackfoot, dies while on a visit to Washington D.C.

1910 U.S. Census reports that 2,268 Indians are living on the Blackfoot reservation, about the same number that lived there in 1885.

1907-12 U.S. policy to treat the Indian reservation as property of the entire tribe is reversed in favor of a policy of allotment. Blackfoot reservation land is divided among individual Indians, each receiving 320 acres, held in trust by the government.

1920 Blackfoot cattle herds wiped out by a severe winter. Starvation follows.

1924 American Indians become citizens of the United States.

1934 Congress passes the Indian Reorganization Act. Blackfoot Tribal Council formed.

1941 Museum of the Plains Indian opens to the public in Browning.

1968 U.S. President, Lyndon B. Johnson's message, "The Forgotten American" advocates Indian tribal self-determination and rejection of the Federal policy of terminination.

1972 Pencil factory begins business on the Blackfoot reservation.

1978 Earl Old Person made the chief of the Blackfoot Nation.

1978 Indian Child Welfare Act passed by Congress, granting tribal governments authority in child custody cases.

1979 All Montana public school teachers on or near Indian reservations required to have a background in Native American Studies.

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