Glacier National Park on Blackfoot Territory: the Assertion of Rights on Traditional Lands

Abstract: (Excerpt from Introduction)

The Blackfeet Reservation was established through treaties -- Lame Bull Treaty of 1855, and two unratified in 1865 and 1868-- and the 1896 Agreement 29 Stat 353 made with the United States Government. The main purpose for these agreements were to legitimate land cessions to the United States in exchange for rations, protection, education, and other services guaranteed to the Blackfeet People. The United States Government traded services for the immense land mass of the Blackfeet People setting up a reservation that is now located in northern Montana from the Medicine Line (Canadian Border) along the Glacier National Park.

The Blackfeet People were historically hunting and gathering society. They followed the buffalo and moved camp seasonally. The area of Glacier National Park was a vital part of Blackfeet survival and culture; therefore in the 1896 Agreement with the Indians  of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana (29 Stat. 353) the tribe reserved rights within the ceded strip. The Blackfeet did not relinquish any claims to resource utilization. The bands gathered many plants and herbs for food and medicinal purposes. THey hunted the big game like deer, elk, moose, beaver, and other animals for food and ceremonial purposes. The lakes and rivers provided water to the people along with the connection to the oral history of Blackfeet culture. The Blackfeet People still are tied to the land today for survival and cultural purposes.


Tarissa Spoonhunter


Eileen Luna Firebaugh





Arizona State Museum: 

M9791 576
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences