Arts and Lifeways - The Bands of Treaty 7
Each Nation is divided into a body of bands. As outlined in the Indian Act, a “band” refers to:
“a body of Indians (a) for whose use and benefit in common, lands, the legal title to which is vested in Her Majesty, have been set apart before, on or after September 4, 1951; (b) for whose use and benefit in common, moneys are held by Her Majesty, or; (c) declared by the Governor in Council to be a band for the purposes of this Act.” (Department of Justice Canada, Indian Act, http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/I-5/198610.html)
Though traditionally, the Treaty 7 First Nations leadership tended to emerge through individual feats and qualities to become leaders of clans within the Nation, the contemporary structure of the bands of Treaty 7 consists of an elected chief and councilors. This structure was introduced after the Indian Act was enforced in 1876.
Each Nation – Kainai (Blood), Piikani (Peigan), Siksika (Blackfoot), Nakoda (Stoney), and Tssu T’ina (Sarcee) – has one chief and several councilors. Chiefs and councilors are elected under the election stipulations of the Indian Act and elections are held every two years.