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Traditional Life - The Piikani (Peigan) Nation

Three Peigan Chiefs, 1900

The Piikani or Peigan Nation is an Algonkian speaking people that shares ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage with the Kainai (Blood) and Siksika (Blackfoot) tribes who ranged in the area of what is now southwest Alberta. The largest of the tribes in the so-called Blackfoot Confederacy, the Piikani were a nomadic hunting and gathering people who once ranged in the foothills stretching from present-day Rocky Mountain House, Alberta to Heart Butte, Montana, in the United States of America.

Like their fellow Blackfoot tribes and other tribes that lived on the Great Plains, the Piikani lived by customs and traditions that found their roots in a mobile, buffalo hunting lifestyle. Social and spiritual life for the Piikani stemmed from a close relationship with their ancestral territories, and all the natural resources that could be found there. Ceremonies often involved decorating tribe members’ faces with paint for spiritual reasons. Piikani band members would quest for sources of paint and paint their faces with it as part of their prayers for success in the hunt, in battle, or other events of great importance.

The Piikani have survived because of their collective strength, but many individuals from the Piikani Nation have distinguished themselves over the years for the contributions they have made to not only the Piikani community, but also to general society. A few of these individuals are profiled in this section of the website.

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