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Canadian Theme Unit
The Blackfoot



The Blackfoot
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.84

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cone-shaped, de-haired, jerky, mounted, unstoppable, provided, treaty, frequently, grounds, buffalo, pemmican, pounded, soles, bison, travois, grazing
     content words:    Blackfoot Indians, Three Buttes, John M., First Nations, In Canada, Northwest Rebellion


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The Blackfoot
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     Caption: Blackfoot Indians chasing buffalo, Three Buttes, Montana. Artwork by John M. Stanley, 1853-55.
 
2     While some First Nations stayed on just their lands, others wanted more room. Their numbers were growing, and they needed bigger hunting grounds. One of these groups was the Blackfoot.
 
3     The Blackfoot got their name from their moccasins. They did not have horses yet. When they walked over ground burned by prairie fires, the soles turned black.
 
4     The Blackfoot were nomads. That means their homes were not always in one place. They followed the plains bison. When the bison moved on, so did the people.
 
5     The people lived in teepees. They were like wide, cone-shaped tents. They were held up by many long wooden poles. They were covered with tanned bison skins fitted and sewn together.
 
6     The leather made from bison hides was very important to the Blackfoot. They made their homes, clothes, and other things from it. It was the women who tanned the skins.
 
7     It was long, hard work. The hides had to be cleaned, stretched, de-haired, and treated so they would last a long time. Then they had to be softened so they could be used. The worth of a Blackfoot woman depended on how well she did that job.
 
8     The women owned the hides they tanned. When they used those hides to make teepees, they owned those, too. When the tribe moved, they would drag the poles themselves. If they had a dog, a couple of poles could be used to make a travois. That way the dog could also help.
 
9     That all changed when horses were brought to the plains. They were larger and stronger. They could pull heavier loads. They made life much easier for the Blackfoot.

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