For thousands of years, First Nations peoples were the caretakers of the land. They respected the land very much and lived in careful balance with the environment, taking only what they needed. When settlers began arriving on the Plains (in Western Canada), life began to change for First Nations people.
ART BY LEAH MARIE DORION
For centuries, First Nations people were caretakers of the land.
Many First Nations people were forced off their traditional territories and some moved into other Nation’s territories. The First Nations groups living in Saskatchewan today are not all the same as they were when the settlers began to arrive.
It was thought that the horses came with the Europeans, but recent evidence reveals that horses were in North America long before the settlers. Horses have always been very important to the First Nations people because horses helped them to hunt, travel, and trade.
Siksika and Blood Nations
The Siksika and Blood Nations (now part of Blackfoot Confederacy) traditionally occupied a vast area of land from the Rocky Mountains east to the North Saskatchewan River and down into the United States. They resisted the settlers and often fought over hunting territory with other First Nations. When their traditional way of life could not be maintained they eventually signed treaties and were pushed onto reserves in southern Alberta.
Photo Credit: University of Saskatchewan Archives
Portrait of a Blackfoot chief, his wife, and child dressed in regalia.