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A Blackfoot Winter Count

by Hugh A. Dempsey
Archivist, Glenbow Foundation
Calgary, Alberta 1965

In this paper, "North Blackfoot" is used to
denote the tribe (Siksikah) while "Blackfoot" refers to
the whole nation of Blackfoot-speaking tribes.

The winter counts of the Blackfoot Indians, like those of other Plains tribes, were simple but effective methods of reckoning time. One outstanding event was recorded for each year and, if nothing occurred which affected the whole tribe, a local or personal incident was recorded. Thus, winter counts kept by different men - varied in some years but were identical in recording epidemics, treaties and other significant events.

Among the four Blackfoot tribes (Bloods, North Blackfoot, North and South Peigan), the winter counts of Bad Head are the best of the several which have been collected. Many of the dates have been checked with early records and have shown a high degree of accuracy. It is also the earliest winter count, covering the period 1810-1883.

Bad Head, Pakap-otokan, was a minor chief of the Bloods and leader of the Buffalo Followers band (Inipoyee). He was a son-in-law of the Bull Back Fat who was met and sketched by George Catlin in 1832. When Bad Head was younger, he was known as Father of Many Children (Manistokos) and signed the Blackfoot treaty with the American Government under that name in 1855. A short time later he received the name of Bad Head from his brother-in-law and was known by both names for the remainder of his life. Palliser ( 1863:141 ) met him in 1860, when the chief was in the Cypress Hills area to recover the body of a son who had been killed by Crees. John J. Healy, who traded among the Bloods from 1869 to 1874, knew Bad Head and said: "There was a band of about forty lodges who generally lived south of the [Canadian-U.S.] boundary line. This band was under the leadership of Father of all Children and was friendly towards the whites." (Adney ms.)

When the Bloods signed the Blackfoot Treaty with the Canadian Government in 1877, Bad Head was recognized as being an old and influential leader (Morris, 1880:258). Native informants say only his age prevented him from being made a head chief of the tribe. When N. T. Macleod (1944) saw him in 1880, Bad Head was "a very old man, practically blind, with one squaw nearly as old and helpless as himself. . . . He was a very big man, so much so that they had not a blue minor chief's coat large enough for him, so had to make one for him from a blue jacket." He died in the autumn of 1884.

Bad Head kept the winter count on a tanned skin, but no description of its physical appearance was recorded. This is the only known instance where a Blackfoot winter count was painted on a skin. All other winter counts which have 'been preserved were retained in the memories of their owners, confirming Wissler's ( 1911:45) observation that counting sticks or paintings were not generally used for this purpose.

The Bad Head winter counts were collected by two men, and internal evidence seems to indicate that they were acting independently of each other. One was collected by Father Emile Legal, an Oblate missionary on the Peigan Reserve, 1881-89, and on the Blood Reserve, 1889-97. This is preserved in the Oblate Archives, Edmonton, Alberta. The other was obtained by Robert N. Wilson, a North-West Mounted Police constable from 1881 to 1884 and later a trader and Indian Agent among the Bloods. His is in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Archives in Ottawa.

The winter count as preserved by Wilson actually terminates in 1889, five vears after Bad Head's death, and Legal's in 1895. The later counts were apparently supplied by other Bloods but neither Wilson nor Legal has indicated the source.

Besides the Bad Head count, there are a number of others which have been preserved. Wissler (1911:44) published two incomplete accounts recounted by Elk Horn and Big Brave of the South Peigans. The others are in manuscript form, and were written by educated Indians. One of these in possession of the author is a copy of a winter count obtained by Jim White Bull, an elderly Blood. This includes much of the Bad Head count but continues on to 1906. According to White Bull, information in his winter count was passed on from Bad Head to Weasel Horse, who was a head chief of the Bloods from 1907 to 1915. In 1906, Weasel Horse and Chief Owl recited the winter counts to White Bull's brother, who wrote them in a school scribbler. There is some variation between White Bull's version and those of Wilson and Legal, but most of these occur after 1883 when White Bull's comments were restricted primarily to the names of women sponsoring the Sun Dance and to the death of leading chiefs.

Four other winter counts collected in recent years are preserved in the Glenbow Foundation Archives, Calgary. The best is a North Blackfoot winter count of Houghton Running Rabbit. It covers the period 1830-1937 and has very few points of similarity with the Bad Head count. The other winter counts are typed copies obtained from Teddy Yellow Fly, c.1929, and Joe Little Chief, c.1956, both members of the North Blackfoot tribe. These almost duplicate the Running Rabbit count.

The fourth specimen is an unusual one, and has not yet been verified as an actual winter count. It consists of a hard covered notebook which was found on the Peigan Reserve at Brocket. The volume is blank, except for a tiny sketch in the upper corner of each page. Some are traditional pictograph figures, such as a man with a gun, a horse, deer, etc., but others are unlike the usual figures found on robes or tipis. No informants on the Peigan Reserve have been able to identify the figures, but all of those contacted felt it was a winter count.

While the Blackfoot method of maintaining winter counts does not appear to have been as elaborate as the Sioux or Kiowa, it was nevertheless quite efficient. During field work it has been possible to date certain events among older informants by referring to winter counts. In latter years, only the more important counts are remembered, so that an informant may say an incident occured a year before the 1869-70 smallpox epidemic, or three years after the Mounted Police arrived.

Besides their value as examples of the Blackfoot calendar system, winter counts are useful as historical records. The Blackfoot counts provide information such as the extent of hunting grounds, location of camp sites, the movement of traders into the area and the identification of chiefs. The Bad Head winter count shows that in 1813 the Bloods were raiding Crow camps in the Yellowstone country and that the Sun Dance was known to them at least as early as 1818. The winter counts also provide some insight into Blackfoot attitudes towards historical events. The Bad Head count mentions the 1855 treaty with the American Government, which had no lasting effect upon the Bloods. Oddly enough, however, no mention is made of the 1877 treaty with the Canadian Government which was to have a great impact upon the tribe. It seems to have made little impression with the Bloods at the time.

In writing the winter counts, both Wilson and Legal added details provided by informants, together with their own comments and opinions. As some of these have been proven to be incorrect, this writer has faithfully transcribed only the basic Blackfoot term for each winter count. The literal translation was provided by my interpreter, Senator James Gladstone, of the Blood tribe. Comments on each winter count are drawn from a number of sources, including the Wilson (W), Legal (L) and White Bull (WB), as well as fur trade journals, Indian Department reports, published works and a number of Blood informants. My thanks are extended to all of those who have assisted with this project.

1810 - Kaorsoyix/itsitotorpiyan. Cropped tails/when they came.

This was probably the Astoria expedition under Wilson P. Hunt which passed just south of Blackfoot country in the summer of 1811. Irving (1897:187) observed that the party cropped the tails of horses purchased from the Arikara so as to distinguish them from Indian ponies.

1811 - Orkeay-aseniw/itomotsarpi. Crying Bear/when he was destroyed.

This warrior was killed by Crees in the northern part of Blackfoot hunting grounds (WB).

1812 - Ekartsiw/otsenik/kotorxispetapi. Gambler/killed by/ Flathead Indian.

In April, 1813, the traders at Edmonton House reported that the Bloods and Blackfeet are determined to steal every Horse belonging to White Men in revenge for the death of their Relations, fifty of whom have been killed by the Flat Heads since last summer [ 1812]. White Men, they say, by supplying the Flat Heads with Arms, are the principal cause of their great loss." (Edmonton House entry for April 28, 1813).

1813 - Itakesaopi. When many of us went to war.

Many Bloods went to raid the Crow Indians on the Big Horn River (WB).

1814 - Ikinay/itsenitarpi. Top Knot/when he was killed.

This man was killed by Crow Indians on the Little Big Horn River (WB).

1815 - Matsi-pokan/itomotsarpi. Mad Child/when he was destroyed.

Mad Child was a Blood who was killed by Crees on the banks of the Belly River, not far from the site of the first Blood Agency (L). This may be the incident reported by traders in the summer of 1815 when a Cree and Assiniboin war party attacked a camp of twenty Blood and Sarsi lodges, killing four men and a woman. The Bloods retaliated and by winter several had been killed on each side. (Edmonton House entry for Oct. 11, 1815).

1816 - Asekarsin/itsenitarpi. Asekarsin/when he was killed.

This man was murdered by another Blood. Wilson translated the name as Extending his Paw and White Bull as Extending his Teeth.

1817 - Ominis/itsenitaw. Buffalo Paunch/when he was killed.

He was killed by his brother (W).

1818 - Stokan. Winter Sun Dance.

The Sun Dance was usually held in early summer when the Saskatoon berries were ripe. On this occasion, a winter camp of Bloods on Sheep River was in danger of being attacked by war parties of Crees. A holy woman vowed that if they were spared from harm she would sponsor a Sun Dance immediately. When no attack came, the ritual was held (WB).

1819 - Saskina/pastsimesin. Coughing/epidemic.

In the winter of 1819-20, traders at Edmonton House reported that a measles epidemic had wiped out one third of the Blackfoot and Gros Ventre tribes. (Edmonton House entries for Feb. 6 and March 15, 1820).

1820 - Nisotoskinay/otsenitarpi. Four Horns/when he was killed.

He was a North Peigan who was killed by a Pend d'Oreille Indian (W and WB).

1821 - Katookinay/itseniw. No Top Knot/he died.

1822 - Ekkakiw/otsitsitawpipi/etotoartay. Limping/when he first came here/where the rivers meet.

Wilson was told that the winter count referred to a fort built at the mouth of the Yellowstone by Andrew Henry and W. H. Ashley. Legal, on the other hand, was informed the post was at the confluence of the Red Deer and Belly Rivers. This was Chesterfield House, established for the Hudson's Bay Co. by Donald McKenzie. Wilson translated Ekkakiw as "Short".

1823 -Innospiw/otsitsenipi. Long Hair/when he died.

1824 - Sapo/nit-omatapisk-otspi. Crows/when we drove them away.

1825 - Itaka/ennastop. Many/when they made a peace treaty.

Wilson and Legal were told that the tribes participating in the treaty included the Bloods, Gros Ventres, Flatheads, Nez Perces and Kutenais. On Sept. 22, 1825 Peter Skene Ogden (Rich, 1950:85), of the Hudson's Bay Co., travelling with a large party of Flatheads, recorded making a treaty with a camp of two hundred lodges of Bloods and a few Gros Ventres and Peigans.

1826 - Misa-orkokinisiw/itomarsikamotspi/sapo. Strong Goose Neck/when we made a big steal/Crows

Strong Goose Neck, or more correctly Merganser Neck, is a butte located just west of Belt, Montana (WB).

1827 - Itaka/eniskoyew. Many/died.

No informants were familiar with this winter count. Legal translated it as "Many Berries".

1828 - Sapomaxika/itsenitarpi. Crowfoot/when he was killed.

Crowfoot (properly Crow Big Foot) was the leader of a party of fourteen Blackfoot ambushed and killed while enroute to a peace parley with the Shoshoni. The event occurred south of the Missouri River. In later years the name Crowfoot was taken by another man who eventually became head chief of the North Blackfoot (Dempsey, 1959).

1829 - Ikitsiketapi/otsitomotsarpi. Seven persons/have been destroyed.

This winter count is remembered by modern Bloods because of a coincidence associated with it. In 1829, seven Crow Indians were killed near Buffalo Horn Butte, a short distance west of Chinook, Montana. The Bloods were led by Spotted Bear who captured a pipe-hatchet during the fight. About forty years later, Calf Shirt, a son of Spotted Bear, led a war party which killed seven Crees and he also took a pipe-hatchet (WB). The latter event is recorded in the White Bull winter count for 1870 and Seven Persons Creek, in south- eastern Alberta, is named for the incident.

1830 - Itsenipitsop. When we were freezing.

A number of Bloods were frozen to death when on a raid (W).

1831 - Kipp/otsitsitawpipi/etotoartay. Kipp/when he lived there/ where the rivers meet.

In October, l831, James Kipp and seventy-five men established Fort Peigan at the confluence of the Missouri and Marias Rivers (Chittenden, 1954, 333).

1832 - Otsitsitorkkanipi/omarxistowan/itstoyemiw. When he was camped there/Big Knife/where he wintered.

In July, 1832, David D. Mitchell and sixty men established Fort McKenzie on a narrow ridge separating the Teton and Missouri. (Chittenden, 1954, 336). Wilson was told the wintering place was called "Straight or Narrow Place on Milk River".

1833 - Kakatosen/otsitsenisipi. Stars/when they fell.

This meteoric shower was seen throughout much of North America on the night of Nov. 12, 1833, and is recorded in the winter counts of other plains tribes (see Mallery, 1893:280 and Praus, 1962:14). The Bloods were camped on the Highwood River at the time (W).

1834 - Sapo/itotayiskatarpi. Crows/when we laid in wait.

This winter count referred to a Blood horse stealing party which successfully raided a Crow camp on the Yellowstone (WB).

1835 - Otsitsoyenitarpi/peikenekwax/natsitapin. When they were killed in the water/Peigans/two.

Two Peigans being pursued by an enemy jumped into the Marias River and were killed (L).

1836 - Pokax/otsitapotsiskarpi. Children/when they had strangulation of the throat.

Many children were said to have died of this ailment (L) which informants believe was diphtheria (WB). Wilson translated it as constipation.

1837 - Apixosin. Smallpox.

This disease was brought to the Upper Missouri on the steamboat St. Peters of the American Fur Company. About two thirds of the Blackfoot nation, or six thousand people, died during the epidemic. (Bradley, 1900).

1837 - Itsosiw/stoyew. When it ended/in winter.

The smallpox epidemic began in June 1837 and was the subject of the 1837-38 winter count. The cold wheather helped to control the spread of the disease and by the spring of 1838 it had run its course (Chittenden, 1954:620). Therefore, the outbreak, spread and termination of the epidemic all belong in the same winter count. However, so great was the impact of the disaster that the beginning and end were given as seperate counts.

1838 - Onisten/lotsenitarpi. Calf Chief/when he was killed.

Wilson was told the Blood chief was killed by a white trader on the Missouri. Bradley (1900) stated that in the spring of 1838, A. Culbertson, factor in charge of Fort McKenzie, killed a Blood known to the traders as Big Road.

1839 - Potsiw/otsenitarpi. Meeting Someone/when she was killed.

An old woman named Meeting Someone was mysteriously killed, her murderer remaining unknown (W).

1840 - Sakoyiskew/attsenitaw. Hind Face/she was killed.

This woman was killed by a drunken Blood (WB).

1841 - Mahertawatow/itomotsarpi. Walking Crow/when he was killed.

He was killed by a war partv of Crows (W).

1842 - Itake-piskiopi/akokimikoy. When at Women's Buffalo jump/ many in one camp.

A large number of Bloods gathered at Women's Buffalo jump near the Porcupine Hills, in south-western Alberta, and killed many buffalo (L). This may be the same Women's Buffalo jump excavated by the Glenbow Foundation in 1958-59 (see Forbis, 1960).

1843 - Sorkoyenamay/sixika/iteskunakatarpi/napekwan. Big-mouthed gun/Blackfoot/hunted by/white man.

Some North Blackfoot coming to trade at Fort McKenzie were fired upon with a cannon by A. M. Harvey, who was known in Blackfoot as Running Wolf. This action was supposedly taken in retaliation for the theft of cattle and the killing of a Negro employee during the previous year. E.A.C. Hatch (cited in McDonnell, 1940:268) said the incident occured on Feb. 19, 1844, and that six Indians were killed and several others were wounded. Wilson was told that thirteen North Blackfoot were killed. The incident was recorded in the winter counts of the North Blackfoot and South Peigans.

1844 - Itayak/etorpommaop. Separated/when we went to trade.

The Bloods separated into two parties for trading, one going to the British at Rocky Mountain House and the other to the Americans on the Missouri River (W).

1845 - Otsitsestarkapipi/natosepokomiw. When he crawled under/ Going to the Sun.

A Blood named Going to the Sun hid in a hole to escape from the Crees (L).

1846 - Etsipiksikamotapi/sapow. Came in front to steal/Crows

A war party of Crows crept into the Blood camp and succeeded in taking the best horses picketed in front of their owners' tipis (WB).

1847 - Kataetsinipoka/otsitomotsok/assinay. Not a Favorite Child/when he was defeated/ Assiniboins.

This Blood Indian was killed by Assiniboins on the Milk River (L).

1848 - Nitsto/matapistotsin. Winter/started to move with our camps.

Bad Head decided to leave his winter camping grounds and take a large band of Bloods to stay near Fort Benton (W).

1849 - Nisitsippi/otsenotsaw/assinay. Fifty/when they were killed/Assiniboins.

In December 1849, Edwin T. Denig (1952:145) reported fifty-two Assiniboins had been killed by Blackfoot on the Marias, while the latter lost twenty-five.

1850 - Pitaonistaw/otsenitarpi. Eagle Calf/when he was killed.

This man was also known as Boy (WB) and was killed by Crees near the Sweetgrass Hills (W).

1851 - Itsto/kakoyew. Winter/floods.

Heavy snows fell during the early winter, but unseasonably warm weather caused winter thaws (WB).

1852 - Itapatorstoyemiw/manistokos. Went north where he wintered/ Father of many children.

Bad Head (or Father of Many Children) wintered in the northern Part ot the hunting grounds while the rest of the Bloods and the Peigans went to Fort Benton.

1853 - Otsitsapapimarpi/assinaekwan/mammapin. When he made a shelter of branches/Assiniboin/ abandoned camp.

An Assiniboin, probably on a horse stealing raid, made a war lodge of branches in a campsite recently vacated by Bloods (WB).

1854 - Itaomitaohoyop. When we ate dogs.

The Blackfoot were not dog eaters, but when starvation reduced them to this necessity, the incident was recorded in their winter count (WB)

1855 - Nitsitsitorkotspi/ennakex. When we were first paid/soldiers.

This marked the first official treaty between the Blackfoot and the American Government, signed on the Judith River, Montana, on Oct. 17, 1855 (Ewers, 1944:37) Legal was told that the commissioner, Isaac I. Stevens, was known as Short Man.

1856 - Itestsikarkoy. When we were slipping.

Much of the Blackfoot hunting grounds was covered with ice during the winter (WB). It was difficult for the Indians to hunt, trade and care for their horses.

1857 - Sawkiapekwan/enitsiw/neetarta-tapekwan. Prairie White Man/killed/Pend d'Oreille Indian.

White Bull said this incident took place at a Point called Shade, near the present Shelby, Montana.

1858 - Itomarkitseskaop. We made a big sweat lodge.

1859 - Otsitsipsenitsiyaw/sakoyestamik/ke/mamiokossi. When they killed each other/Hind Bull/and/Fish Child.

These two brothers were chiefs of the Many Fat Horses band. While drinking near Rocky Mountain House, Hind Bull took his daughter away from her husband and Fish Child objected. In the argument that followed, Hind Bull shot Fish Child but, before dying, the latter stabbed his brother to death (Dempsey ms. 1955).

1860 - Neetartaytapi/otsit-otas-kak/assinay. Pend d'Oreilles/when their horses were taken/ Assiniboins.

The Pend d'Oreilles under their chief, Alexander, were hunting buffalo along the Milk River when they were attacked by a large war party of Assiniboins and Crees. The Pend d'Oreilles had twenty killed, including the chief's son, twenty-five wounded, and 290 horses taken. Only the timely arrival of some Peigans prevented the complete extermination of the camp. This happened late in November, 1860. (Owen, 1927, vol. 2, 234-5, 238-9, 262).

1861 - Otsitotorpi/natoye-ketokew. When he got there/Medicine Prairie Chicken.

A leading chief of the Crows who was half Peigan visited the Bloods during the year (W).

1862 - Tartowa/otsenitarpi. Tartowa/ when he was killed.

This man, a Peigan, went insane and rode through the camp firing his gun. He was finally killed by his two brothers (W). The name has been translated as Prepared moccasins and as The Fox (L).

1863 Nisokimix/itomotsarpi. Four enemy in a camp/when they were destroyed.

The Gros Ventres (Atsina) had been allies of the Blackfoot for generations, but in 1861 a dispute with the Peigans over stolen horses turned them into bitter enemies. This winter count refers to four lodges of Gros Ventres under a chief named The Stone, who were killed by Peigans on the Belly River. They had been visiting Blood chief Ermine Horse at the time of the attack (L).

1864 - Sikapixosin. Black smallpox.

An epidemic of scarlet fever ravaged the Blackfoot tribes during the winter of 1864-65. By spring, Father Albert Lacombe reported to traders at Edmonton House that 1,100 Blackfoot had died. (Edmonton House entry for March 24, 1865).

1865 - Itesam-orkimaop. We waited a long time.

This refers to a long wait for traders who were supposed to come to the Blood camps (W). In the previous year, hostilities had broken out between Americans and the Blackfoot. After the epidemic, the Blackfoot harrassed the British traders at Rocky Mountain House, blaming them for the disease (Edmonton House entry for March 28, 1865). As a result, traders were reluctant to visit the camps and some Indians were afraid to go near the trading houses.

1866 - Itayaminotspi. We were captured by hand.

In March, 1866, a war party of Bloods and North Blackfoot discovered what they thought was a small Cree camp at the edge of the Red Ochre Hills. They killed two women who had been cutting wood and were following a snow-filled coulee to the top of the hill when they were discovered. The lodges they had seen were part of a larger camp and soon the Crees surrounded the coulee and slaughtered scores of Indians in the snow (Cowie. 1913:314).

1867 - Itakaorpoma/tiskaopi. Plenty trade/on trading expedition.

The Blackfoot were beginning to obtain repeating rifles and were able to kill larger numbers of buffalo. As a result, more dried meat, robes and leather were taken to the traders (L).

1868 - Kaeyetapissiw/otsitsetokorpi. Bear People/shot at people.

Some members of the Bear People band rushed through the camp in a drunken state and killed several people (W). Legal stated they were Peigans.

1869 - Apixosin. Smallpox.

The disease struck the Blackfoot in the autumn of 1869, again originating with a Missouri River steamboat. By the spring of 1870, the death toll was estimated to be 1,080 Peigans, 630 Bloods and 676 North Blackfoot. (See Winnipeg Manitoban for Sept. 16, 1871).

1870 - Issinay/itomotsarpi/akaenaskoy. Assiniboins/when we defeated them/Fort Whoop-Up.

In the autumn of 1870, between 600 and 800 Assiniboins and Crees attacked Blood camps not far from Fort Whoop-Up, at the confluence of the Oldman and St. Mary Rivers. However, the attackers did not know that a large number of South Peigans with modern repeating rifles were camped a short distance away. The combined Blood and Peigan forces succeeded in routing the Assiniboins and Crees, inflicting casualties estimated between 200 and 300 (Kennedy, 1890). The name for Fort Whoop-Up was "Many Died", which described the river bottom where the Bloods had suffered heavy losses during the 1837 pidemic.

1871 - Spitsi/napekwax/itawpiyaw. Highwood River/white men/settled there.

A trading post was built on the Highwood River for the winter (W). This was the era of the free trader who carried whiskey and repeating rifles as stock in trade. In later years these posts were dubbed "whiskey forts".

1872 - Attsitestoyemiyaw/spitsi/napekwax. They wintered there/ Highwood River/white men.

In the autumn of 1872, Howell Harris and Asa Sample were sent by I. G. Baker & Co. of Fort Benton to build a post on the Highwood River (Dempsey, 1963:31).

1873 - Onistarsesokasin/otsenitarpi. Calf Shirt/when he was killed.

This is a well known story among the Bloods (see Dempsey, 1953:65). Calf Shirt was leader of the Lone Fighters band of Bloods. Joe Kipp, a trader, killed him in self defence at Fort Kipp, on the Belly River. The Bloods tried to revive Calf Shirt but stopped when they thought they were achieving success, as they were afraid that he would come back to life as a bear.

1874 - Ennakex/otsitotorpi/akapioyis. Police/when they came/Fort Macleod.

The North-West Mounted Police, organized in eastern Canada, arrived at the Oldman River in October 1874, and built Fort Macleod. They were the first Canadian law enforcement body in Blackfoot territory (Turner, 1950, vol. 1, 167). Akapioyis means "many houses".

1875 - Itsixowatorpi/napiorki. When it was finished/whiskey.

The North-West Mounted Police closed the illicit " whiskey forts" and within a year, liquor trading had virtually ceased (Turner, 1950, vol. 1, 196).

1876 - Itakainiskoy. When there were plenty of buffalo.

The Mounted Police reported buffalo plentiful in the Blackfoot hunting grounds during the winter of 1876-77, but by spring the herds were confined mostly to the Cypress Hills area (Turner, 1950, vol. 1, 326).

1877 - Itsiparkap-otomiop. When we had a bad spring.

1878 - Itsa/stoyew. Mild/Winter.

1879 - Itsistsitsis/awenimiopi . When first/no more buffalo.

By 1879, almost all of the buffalo in the Bloods' hunting grounds had been killed or driven south. In desperation, the Bloods followed the herds and during the winter of 1879-80 they hunted in the Judith Basin region of Montana (Turner,1950, vol. 1, 476).

1880 - Itorkoneopatotsop. When we all moved camp.

This refers to the movement of the Bloods back to Canada after the last buffalo herds were killed (W). The starving Indians began drifting back at the end of the winter of 1880-81 and by May the entire tribe was camped along the Belly River. (Blood Agency letter book, entry May 7, 1881).

1881 - Ninna-akew/ossa/otsitotorpi. Queen Victoria/her son-in-law/when he came.

The Marquis of Lorne, Governor-General of Canada and son-in-law of Queen Victoria, visited the Bloods at Fort Macleod in September 1881, during a tour of the west (MacGregor, 1964, I). Ninna-akew literally means "Chief Woman".

1882 - Mikahestow/itsikamapi. Red Crow/when he was robbed.

In August 1883, Red Crow, head chief of the Bloods had eighty horses stolen by a war party of Crees. Although the Bloods pursued them towards Cypress Hills, the raiders were not caught. (Blood Agency letter book, entry for Aug. 25, 1883).

1883 - Istsienakas/otsitotorpi. Fire wagon/when it arrived.

The Canadian Pacific Railway line reached the eastern edge of Blackfoot territory in April 1883, and was built to the edge of the Rocky Mountains by the end of the year (Turner, 1950, vol. 2, 19).

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