Portrait believed to be Chief Crowfoot of the Blackfoot.
Historical note:The Blackfoot chief Crowfoot was born ca. 1830 near Belly River, AB, and died near Blackfoot Crossing, AB on 25 Apr 1890. Born a Blood, he grew up among the Blackfoot. As a teenager, he showed great bravery in a battle by advancing and striking a painted tipi in the hostile Crow camp. For this deed he was given an ancestor's name, Isapo-muxika, meaning "Crow Indian's Big Foot," shortened by interpreters to Crowfoot. He went to war 19 times and was wounded 6 times. His most heroic deed was to attack and kill a grizzly bear with a lance in sight of the whole camp. Shortly after, in 1865, he became chief of the Big Pipes band, and in 1870 became one of the 3 head chiefs of the tribe.Crowfoot was perceptive, farseeing and a diplomat. He established good relations with fur traders and peace with the Cree. He adopted a Cree named Poundmaker who became a leader of his own people, and rescued missionary Albert Lacombe during a Cree raid. In 1874 Crowfoot welcomed the NWMP when they came west to stamp out the whisky trade. He was recognized as an ally and was given a prominent role in Treaty No. 7 negotiations in 1877.After the Blackfoot settled on their reserve in 1881, Crowfoot became disillusioned with the Canadian government, but he refused to allow his people to join the 1885 Northwest Resistance, less out of loyalty to the government than from the belief that it was a losing fight. Sick during his last decade, he constantly mourned the loss of his children, of whom only one blind son and 3 daughters reached maturity. Near death, he is quoted as saying, "What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."
University of Saskatchewan Libraries Special Collections, Canadiana Pamphlets Collection, XXXII-199-ChiefCrowfoot (Oversize); records from Our Legacy site, http://scaa.sk.ca/ourlegacy
Images -- Photographs