November 21, 2015

2054, 2055 CANADA ( Alberta) / UNITED STATES (Montana) - Blackfoot Confederacy

2054 Bull Bear, a Siksika warrior

The Blackfoot Confederacy or Niitsitapi (meaning "original people") is the collective name of three First Nation band governments in the province of Alberta, in Canada, and also a Native American tribe in  Montana, United States. There are three tribes in Canada, the Siksika (Blackfoot), the Kainai or Kainah (Bloods) and the Northern Piegan (Poor Robes) or Peigan or Pikuni, and one tribe in the United States: the Southern Piegan (Poor Robes) or Pikuni in Montana.

2055 A Blakfoot little girl (ca. 1900)

Historically, the member peoples of the Confederacy were nomadic bison hunters and trout fishermen, who ranged across large areas of the northern Great Plains of Western North America, specifically the semi-arid shortgrass prairie ecological region. They followed the bison herds as they migrated between what are now the United States and Canada, as far north as the Bow River. In the first half of the 18th century, they acquired horses and firearms from white traders and their Cree and Assiniboine go-betweens.

The systematic commercial bison hunting by white hunters in the 19th century nearly ended the bison herds and permanently changed Native American life on the Great Plains. Periods of starvation and deprivation followed, and the Blackfoot tribe was forced to adopt ranching and farming, settling in permanent reservations. In the 1870s, they signed treaties with both the United States and Canada, ceding most of their lands in exchange for annuities of food and medical aid.

Blackfoot war parties would ride hundreds of miles on raids. A boy on his first war party was given a silly or derogatory name, but after he had stolen his first horse or killed an enemy, he was given a name to honor him. Warriors would strive to perform various acts of bravery called counting coup, in order to move up in social rank. Bull Bear was famous for his exploits as a Siksika warrior. His Blackfoot name was Kayne-ina, which means "male bear." He owned a Medicine Bundle, which are only owned by chiefs and leaders.

Typically Blackfoot clothing was made primarily of softened and tanned antelope and deer hides. Men wore moccasins, long leggings that went up to their hips, a loincloth, and a belt. The distinguished men of bravery would wear a necklace made of grizzly bear claws. Women and girls wore dresses made from two or three deerskins and earrings and bracelets made from sea shells. They bore sometimes a cornhusk bag, by the 1840s made of native hemp.

About the stamps
On the postcard 2054
About the first stamp, featuring a portrait of George Washington, I wrote here. The last stamp, depicting Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005), is part of the series Black Heritage Series, about which I wrote here. The last two stamps are part of a series about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 2055
About the first stamp, depicting the iconic figure of "Wisdom" which is installed over the entrance to the GE Building at Rockefeller Center, I wrote here.  About the second stamp, depicting the president Abraham Lincoln, I wrote here.

Blackfoot Confederacy - Wikipedia

Sender 2054, 2055: Denise 
2054: Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 26.03.2014
Photo: Edward S. Curtis
2055: Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 27.03.2014
Photo: ca. 1900

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