The Blackfeet of the Americas

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Who are the Blackfeet and how do they refer to themselves Though referred to as the Blackfeet or Blackfoot, they prefer to refer to themselves as the Nitsitapiksi, which means “Real People.” This term is not only used by the Blackfeet to refer to themselves but to all First Peoples of the Americas (Ni-tsi-ta-pi-ksi, The Blackfoot Gallery Committee, 2001, 3). The Blackfoot Nation is a confederacy of three Nations, the Kainai, the Pikani and Siksika (The Blackfoot Gallery Committee, 2001, 2/3). These three Nations however are more commonly referred to in mainstream literature as the Blood, Peigan, and the Northern Blackfoot or the Blackfeet of Montana and are not the terms chosen by the Blackfeet Nations to refer to them selves (The Blackfoot Gallery Committee, 2001, 2). This terminology, it would appear results from mistranslations of Blackfoot words, or names given to the Blackfeet from neighboring First Nations (source). For example the term Peigan is believed to have originated from an English mispronunciation of Pikani. How the Kainai ( which translates into “Many Leaders”) became known as the Blood Nation has many explanations, one is that it describes the term Aapaitsitapi by the Cree due to the ceremonial paint which was used on the face and hands which looked like blood. A second explanation is that the term in fact referred the weasel pelts the Kanai wore and it was mistranslated to mean the blood peoples (Bastien 2004, 10). Siksika is a literal translation of
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