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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

The Piikani Nation - Profiles

Chester Cunningham

The name Peigan, or Piikani, means “Real People,” and this tribe forms the largest of the three tribes in the Blackfoot Confederacy. There are two Peigan Reserves that span both Canada and the United States. The South Peigan Reserve is located across the medicine line in Montana, while the North Peigan Reserve is found in south-western Alberta.

The history of the Peigan People comprises a distinct and important aspect of the cultural fabric of the northern Great Plains. The Piikani way of life is inherently tied to their ancestral lands, as they maintained a spiritual and physical relationship with the land. Their interaction with and reliance upon the natural resources in the regions of Blackfoot Territory is symbolized through their language, songs, traditional lifestyles, and deep respect for creation.

The Peigan People are resilient, as they maintained their language and culture despite the Missionaries efforts to assimilate and, by extension, “civilize” all First Nations People. The individuals profiled in this section show strength, courage, and commitment to preserving the traditional Peigan way of life.

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