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The Treaty Makers - Sitting on Eagle Tail Feathers

Blackfoot Chiefs

Zoatze-Tapitapiw, or Sitting on Eagle Tail Feathers, was head chief of the Piikani north of the United States-Canada border when Treaty 7 was signed in 1877. He had only been chief of the northern Piikani since the winter of 1876. Prior to that time, the Piikani had been led by a chief named Bull Head (not to be confused with the Tsuu T’ina chief of the same name), who had not lived to see the Treaty 7 negotiations.

Of particular concern to Sitting on Eagle Tail Feathers during the Treaty 7 negotiations was the retention of Piikani traditional territory. One area that was sought for was the Crow Eagle area. This land was considered sacred to the Piikani because it was the place where they would gather paint essential for spiritual and ceremonial use. When Crown surveyors surveyed land to set aside for the Piikani reserve, the Crow Eagle area was not included in the survey, leading this land to become a contentious issue for the Piikani that Sitting on Eagle Tail Feathers tried to address.

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