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Beneath the Backbone of the WorldBlackfoot People and the North American Borderlands, 1720-1877$
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Ryan Hall

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469655154

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655154.001.0001

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Náápi’s Place

Náápi’s Place

(p.13) Chapter One Náápi’s Place
Beneath the Backbone of the World

Ryan Hall

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter provides an overview of Blackfoot origins and life on the northwest plains prior to the eighteenth century. Blackfoot people credit the ancestral spirit Náápi, or Old Man, with the creation of the northwest plains landscape, where they have lived for millennia at least. The Blackfoot developed durable religious traditions, hunting and gathering practices, and diplomatic connections that long sustained their way of life. Beginning in the 1720s, the arrival of horses and European metal goods through trade networks of Indigenous “middlemen” disrupted their traditional practices but also provided new opportunities that many Blackfoot people embraced. The concurrent arrival of horses and metal goods also led to increased conflict and warfare between Indigenous people in the region.

Keywords:   Creation, Náápi, Middlemen, Trade, Horses, Warfare

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