This Week in History
Treaty No. 7 Signed at Blackfoot Crossing
|For the week of Monday September 21, 1998
On September 22, 1877, Canadian government and First Nations representatives signed Treaty No. 7 at Blackfoot Crossing. The treaty is an essential part of the relationship between the government and the First Nations of the land south of Red Deer River and beside the Rocky Mountains in present-day Alberta. This land was the traditional territory of the Blackfoot-speaking peoples -- the Siksika (Blackfoot), the Piikani (Peigan) and the Kainai (Blood) -- along with their allies the Tsuu T'ina (Sarcee) and their enemies the Nakoda (Stoney).
The 1870s were a period of deep and worsening hardship for the Blackfoot-speaking peoples. Disease, the whisky trade, and the disappearance of the buffalo herds contributed to a decline in population. Isapo-Muxika (Crowfoot), a leading chief of the Siksika, feared for his people. When he heard that the federal government was negotiating with other First Nations, he accepted a meeting between government officials and his people at Blackfoot Crossing to discuss a treaty. At the negotiations, Isapo-Muxika became the leading spokesperson for all five nations represented, and urged the other chiefs to follow his lead in signing the treaty.
Blackfoot Crossing has been designated a national historic site, and the Siksika nation is working to develop a historical park there, where an interpretation centre will tell the story of Siksika culture. Isapo-Muxika and the Signing of Treaty No. 7 are also commemorated on the Siksika Reserve by Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaques.
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