Blackfoot confederacy

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Jul 27 15:07:07 PDT 1998

There is a Canadian Broadcasting Company documentary scheduled for 7/21 featuring Long Standing Bear Chief, a close associate of my good friend, the tireless and exemplary warrior Jim Craven. Mark it down on your calendar. ------ Host: ALISON SMITH

Date: 980721

Time: 22:00:00 ET - 22:25:00 ET

CBC-TV THE NATIONAL [...] Title: Blackfoot Indians.

Guest: NATALIE CLANCY, Reporter

VERNON YELLOW HORN,Blackfoot activist



ALISON SMITH: They were proud and powerful. The Blackfoot. A confederacy of native bands that once ruled parts of the Canadian prairies and the American plains. The colonization broke up the Blackfoot -- dividing them into Canadians and Americans. Now they're trying to reclaim their past. And as Natalie Clancy explains, for them that means a future without borders.

NATALIE CLANCY: It's a procedure the Yellow Horn family of Brocket, Alberta resents. Having to answer questions at a border they don't recognize.

VERNON YELLOW HORN / BLACKFOOT ACTIVIST: We're Blackfeet, we're not Canadians. There's a difference between Blackfeet and Canadians eh.

CLANCY: They're talking about an expanse of land called the Blackfoot Confederacy. It stretches from Edmonton all the way south to the Yellow Stone River in Montana. The Blackfoot Indians say it was taken away illegally away in treaties with the Canadians and the Americans more than a hundred years ago.

YELLOW HORN: This is our country. We're tired of being told we're tax burdens and we're poor Indians.

CLANCY: Vernon Yellow Horn and his brother George travel back and forth between their reserve in Alberta and this one in Montana. They claim these aren't reserves but parts of their country. Because these x's on the treaty that divided the land aren't the signatures of their ancestors.

LONG STANDING BEAR CHIEF / BLACKFOOT ACTIVIST: The same person made all the x's and some of those names there have not been written down properly.

UNIDENTIFIED: What this Blackfoot Confederacy is all about is getting our people together.

CLANCY: It's a grassroots movement. They meet regularly in Montana to plan the revival of the confederacy. They've started by issuing more than one thousand i.d-cards -- to replace American and Canadian Indian status cards and they use them at the border.

YELLOW HORN: There are people who have used this card and they've been asked for example: so where's the Blackfeet nation? And so we've told the Canadian and American border officials, you're standing in it. You're the people standing on this imaginary line. You're the ones with the funny characters not us. Because you're standing here protecting an imaginary line. It never exists. It only exists in your minds not in ours.

CLANCY: And in the minds of the Blackfoot Indians, even talk of bringing back the confederacy has been a boost to morale here, especially for the young generation. For them it's about putting an end to 85 per cent unemployment and replacing welfare payments with the share of the tax money their land generates.

LONG STANDING BEAR / CHIEF BLACKFOOT ACTIVIST: What we have to demonstrate to the world is this is our country and we have a right to share in the resources.

CLANCY: Those at the heart of the Blackfoot Confederacy movement know they have their work cut out for them. First they have to convince some 37 thousand natives to join and more importantly they have to convince two nations: the United States and Canada to take their claim seriously. Natalie Clancy, CBC News, Browning, Montana.

Louis Proyect (

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