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The Siksika Nation - Social Life

Sun Dance camp

Siksika society was organized along similar lines to the Kainai and Piikani Nations in the Blackfoot Confederacy. Bands were usually small and were often organized along familial ties. As was the case with the other Blackfoot Nations, Siksika People were free to move from one camp to another if they felt they could not remain where they were.

Leadership in Siksika society was determined by a person’s personality traits or by their personal achievements. Those who were generous, experienced, and wise could see themselves elevated to the status of leader, while those who demonstrated skills in a particular area such as hunting or warfare could also emerge as leaders. As was the case in the other Nations of the Blackfoot Confederacy, both men and women could play leadership roles in Siksika society.

Traditionally, male and female roles in the Siksika social world were similar to those that could be seen in the Kainai and Piikani societies. Men were the hunters, warriors, and guardians for the camp. Certain men were also spiritual leaders and would hold sacred artifacts and communicate with the spirit world on behalf of the people. Women were the gatherers, cultivators, and keepers of the camp. Women were also active as leaders in Siksika spiritual life, acting as the guardians of sacred objects and as camp healers. Siksika children were raised by the adult members of the camp, learning through play (which often reflected daily life) and through the teachings and advice of their elders. As children grew, they gradually assumed more and more of the adult responsibilities of the camp and took on more tasks to help ensure the survival of the camp.

Social events for the Siksika, as with the other Blackfoot Nations, included non-ceremonial dances, horse races and skills competitions, and other games of skill and strategy.

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