Piegan Indians

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United States Gotoarrow.png American Indians Gotoarrow.png Montana Gotoarrow.png Indians of Montana Gotoarrow.png Piegan Indians

Guide to Piegan Indians ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and other agency records.

To get started in American Indian Research

{{#if: Siksika or North Blackfeet; Kainah or Bloods|
Piegan
Piegan -in-the-lodge.jpg
Population
<table style="background: none; width: 100%;" rules="rows"> <tr> <td>???</td> <td style="text-align: right;">???</td><td style="width: 2px;"> </td> </tr> <tr> <td>1906</td> <td style="text-align: right;">2,072</td><td> [1]</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1858</td> <td style="text-align: right;">abt. 3,700 [2]</td> </tr> <tr> </table> <small></small>
Regions with significant populations
Ancestral Homelands: Southern Alberta near Calgary; and near Browning, Montana<br> Descendants:<br> Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.<br> Portions of the tribe also reside on reserves in the Province of Alberta in Canada.
Status

Federally recognized

Linguistic Group

not yet researched

Cultural Group

not yet researched

Other Related Ethnic Groups

Siksika or North Blackfeet; Kainah or Bloods

Tribal Headquarters

The Piegan are a part of the present-day Blackfeet Nation.

Blackfeet Nation
1 Agency Square
Browning, MT 59417
Phone: 1.406.338.7521
Fax: 1.406.338.7530

History

The Piegan Indians are one of the three major Blackfeet tribes -- the Blood, the Blackfeet, and the Piegan.

During the 1700's there were inter-tribal conflicts with the Shoshone, Flathead and Kootenai, with the Piegan driving the Flathead and Kootenai west of the Rocky Mountains.

The Hudson Bay Company and its French traders were early non-Indian contacts during the mid-1700s to 1780. The company established the Cumberland and Buckingham trading houses.

The tribe was plagued with smallpox epidemics in 1780, 1837, 1869 and 1870 which depopulated the tribe each time.

On January 22, 1870 the Piegan village was attacked by the U.S. Cavalry and 174 were Indians were killed.

Fort Belknap and Blackfeet Reservations were established........

About a fourth of the tribe suffered starvation in 1883 and 1884 when the rations were short, and many died at Fort Shaw and Fort Belknap.

The population of the Piegan Tribe in 1800 was about 3,000.

Brief Timeline

1700: Tribal enemies were the Shoshone or Snake

The Piegan forced the Flathead and Kootenai west of the Rockies

1750: French traders came in contact with the tribe, including traders at Cumberland House in 1774 and traders from Buckingham House of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1780

1780-81: Smallpox epidemic

1821: Fort Benton constructed

1837 and 1869-1870: Smallpox epidemics

1851: Treaty of Fort Laramie

1855: Treaty with the Blackfeet Nation - Lame Bull's Treaty

1870: January 22, Piegan village attacked 174 killed by U.S. Cavalry

1873: July 5, Blackfeet Reservation established and divided in thirds- Fort Belknap Reservation , Blackfeet Reservation and________

1883-1884: about a fourth of the Piegan Tribe starved to death at Fort Shaw and Fort Belknap

Reservations

Blackfeet Reservation

Fort Belknap reservation

Additional References to the History of the Tribe

Records

The majority of records of individuals were those created by the agencies. Some records may be available to tribal members through the tribal headquarters.They were (and are) the local office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and were charged with maintaining records of the activities of those under their responsibility. Among these records are:

Agency

Since the Piegan are a major part of the Blackfeet Nation, the following agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs had jurisdiction over them. BIA agencies were responsible to keep such records as census rolls, allotment (land) records, annuity rolls, school records, correspondence, and other records of individual Indians under their jurisdiction. For details, see the page for the respective agency.

Superintendencies

Records for Superintendencies exist in the National Archives and copies of many of them are also available in other research facilities.

Montana Superintendency

Washington Superintendency

Central Superintendency

Dakota Superintendency

Idaho Superintendency

Treaty

During the latter part of the 18th Century and most of the 19th Century, treaties were negotiated between the federal government and individual Indian tribes. The treaties provide helpful information about the history of the tribe, but usually only include the names of those persons who signed the treaty. For more information about treaties, click here.

Treaties to which the Piegan Indians were a part were:

  • 1855 Treaty with the Blackfeet

Tribal Office Records

The Tribal Office is responsible for enrollment records, vital records, tribal police records, tribal court records, employment records and many others. They are an entirely different set of records from those kept by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Most of them remain in the Tribal Office. For details, contact that office at the address for the Tribal Headquarters listed above.

Important Web Sites

References

  1. under the Blackfeet Agency in Montana, as reported by Frederick Webb Hodge. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906. Hodge also reported an additional 493 Piegan at the Piegan Agency in Alberta, Canada.
  2. Frederick Webb Hodge. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906.

Bibliography

Piegan

General

  • Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives; Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906 Available online.
  • Klein, Barry T., ed. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 2009. 10th ed. WorldCat 317923332; FHL book 970.1 R259e.
  • Malinowski, Sharon and Sheets, Anna, eds. The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1998. 4 volumes. Includes: Lists of Federally Recognized Tribes for U.S., Alaska, and Canada – pp. 513-529 Alphabetical Listing of Tribes, with reference to volume and page in this series Map of “Historic Locations of U.S. Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Canadian Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Mexican, Hawaiian and Caribbean Native Groups” Maps of “State and Federally Recognized U.S. Indian Reservations. [1]; FHL book 970.1 G131g.WorldCat 37475188
Vol. 1 -- Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean
Vol. 2 -- Great Basin, Southwest, Middle America
Vol. 3 -- Arctic, Subarctic, Great Plains, Plateau
Vol. 4 -- California, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Islands
  • Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
Volume 1 -- Not yet published
Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- [2]
Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
Volume 16 -- Not yet published
Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published
  • Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online.
  • Waldman, Carl. Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. New York, New York: Facts on File, 2006. 3rd ed. WorldCat 14718193; FHL book 970.1 W146e 2006.