Saturday, October 20, 2012

Chief Crowfoot

Photo: Native Leaders of Canada

Also known as Isapo-Muxica, Chief Crowfoot was born in 1830 to the Blood Tribe near Belly River. He grew up among the Blackfoot and eventually became a respected chief. 

Though he fought in various tribal wars, Crowfoot made peace with the Cree and rescued missionary Father Albert Lacombe from a Cree raid.

He also welcomed the North-West Mounted Police when they arrived in southern Alberta to stamp out the whiskey trade which was doing so much harm to aboriginal people.

In his personal life, Crowfoot lost and grieved for many children. He also adopted Poundmaker, who became a great chief when he grew up.

In 1877, he took part in negotiations for Treaty 7, and in 1881 the Blackfoot people settled on their reserve. Though he was disillusioned by the government's actions afterwards, Chief Crowfoot wisely kept his people out of the North-West Rebellion of 1885.

In 1886 he was invited to Ottawa by Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, but was unable to complete the journey due to ill-health. He died in 1890 near Blackfoot Crossing.

An orator and visionary as well as a diplomat and politician, he commented as an old man on the transience of life, calling it "the flash of a firefly in the night...the breath of a buffalo in the winter time" (Canadian Encyclopedia).

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