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Treaty 7

Treaty Number 7, which covers most of southern Alberta, was signed with the Blackfoot Confederacy in 1877.

The meeting took place at Blackfoot Crossing, (near Gleichen) and, according to historian Michael Payne, it was an event of multilingual and multicultural proportions. The negotiations involved members of the treaty party, there were also missionaries there, and members of the North West Mounted Police in attendance. Other participants included members of people who were known as the Mountain-Assiniboine, or Stoney. The main participants were members of what was known as the Blackfoot Confederacy: people we now refer to as the Peigans, the Bloods or Kainai, the Blackfoot proper, or Siksika, and the Tsuu T'ina or Sarcee, as they were then called.

Treaty Seven part 1

The life, culture and economy of these people revolved around the buffalo. With the arrival of the Europeans that was changing and Treaty Number 7 was negotiated at a very critical time for Aboriginal peoples of southern Alberta. Buffalo had been disappearing from the Canadian plains for many years and, in the years 1875 to 1877, the buffalo hunt had actually failed completely. These were proud and independent people, but in many ways their circumstances were desperate in 1877. It is a tribute to the peoples of southern Alberta that, despite the desperate times, they tried to consider what was in their best interests and how this treaty in fact could help them and their communities survive.

Treaty Seven part 2

The negotiations over Treaty Number 7 included the most powerful and respected leaders of the Blackfoot Confederacy. The leading figures in the negotiations were Crowfoot, from the Blackfoot, and Red Crow of the Bloods. Other leaders who signed the treaty were: Sitting on Eagle Tailfeather (a Peigan), Chief Bullhead (Tsuu T'ina), and Bearspaw (Stoney). Crowfoot was known as a peacemaker and Red Crow was admired for his shrewdness of mind. It was the discussion between these two chiefs that determined whether treaty would be made at Blackfoot Crossing.

 


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