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The Piikani Nation - Social Life

North Axe, North Peigan Chief

Piikani social life was structured very closely along other Blackfoot societal structures. The overall tribe was made up of smaller family bands that travelled and camped independently of each other. The tribe congregated at certain times of the year to participate in events like a communal buffalo hunt, or a large spiritual ceremony.

Leadership among the Piikani People was determined by the character and social status of certain band members. Those who demonstrated a gentle and wise demeanor could be marked for leadership, while those who had accumulated a fair amount of wealth and prestige, or who had demonstrated success in warfare, could assume the mantle of band leader. Wealthy Piikani men could be afforded the privilege of having more than one wife.

Men in Piikani society carried traditional roles as the hunters and warriors of the tribe. Women were the keepers of the camp, and were responsible for the gathering of wood from trees and foodstuffs from plants, the setup and taking down of camp, the hauling of water, and the preparation of animal hides and food.

Relations with other Blackfoot Tribes like the Siksika and the Kainai were maintained primarily through intermarriage and trade. The Piikani enjoyed a close kinship with the other Blackfoot tribes, and maintained a peaceful relationship with some plains tribes outside of the Blackfoot through treaties and trade. Tribes with which the Piikani did not share treaties or other economic or familial connections with could be regarded as enemies, and were fought with if such enemies should stray onto Piikani traditional land.

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