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Word Count: 681
The nomadic Blackfoot Indians in particular were known fro their great skills in hunting the enormous buffalo long before the first pyramids of Egypt were built It was after the introduction in 1730 of the animal named elk-horse for its great size that the in the Blackfoot tribes became renowned for their expert horsemanship and continued their dominance of neighboring Native Americans groups as they pushed westward toward the Rocky Mountains They had a reputation as a fierce warrior and by the mid-19th century controlled a vast amount of territory stretching from northern Saskatchewan to the southernmost waters of the Missouri They were also known as the strongest and most aggressive military power on the northwestern plains preventing white men whom they considered poacher from impinging on their land and their natural resources for a quarter of a century But the end of the 19th century saw a population decimated by the near extinction of the buffalo as well as repeated epidemics of smallpox and measles And though still dependant on the land the remaining were forced onto reservations by US policy and blindly placed into a way of life that lacked social cohesiveness and resulted in the weakening of the native institutions and cultural practices The Blackfoot Indians of Alberta and Montana were divided into three closely related Algonkian-speaking tribes the Piegan the Blood and the Siksika or Blackfoot proper The name Blackfoot is believed to have been derived from this discoloration of the moccasins from ashes They were typical of the Plains Indians in that they were nomadic hunter gatherers who lived in teepees and subsisted mainly on the buffalo the separate bands would wander on the foot in order to follow the herds Others animals such as deer and small game also contributed to the diet as well as gathered vegetables Fish were abundant thought they were only eaten in times of extremity necessity such as when the buffalo populations dwindled Foods
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