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Kainai Nation

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Title: Kainai Nation  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Blood Indian Reserve No. 148, Piegan Blackfeet, Blackfoot language, List of Indian reserves in Alberta, Eugene Creighton
Collection: Blackfoot Tribe, First Nations Governments in Alberta
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Kainai Nation

Shield of the Kainai Nation

The Kainai Nation (or Káínawa, or Blood Tribe) is a First Nation band government in southern Alberta, Canada, with a population of 7,437 members in 2005,[1]

Akáínaa translates directly to "Many Chief" (from aká - "many" and nínaa - "chief") while Káína translates directly to "Many Chief people." The enemy Plains Cree called the Kainai Miko-Ew - "stained with blood", i.e. "the bloodthirsty, cruel", therefore, the common English name for the tribe is the "Blood tribe."

The Kainai speak a language of the Algonquian linguistic group; their dialect is closely related to those of the Siksika and Peigan. They are one of three nations comprising the Blackfoot Confederacy.

At the time treaties such as Treaty 7 were signed, the Kainai were situated on the Oldman, Belly, and St. Mary rivers west of Lethbridge, Alberta. The Kainai reserve Blood 148 is currently the largest in Canada with 3,852 inhabitants [2] on 1,414.03 km² and is located approximately 200 kilometres south of Calgary. As of December 2013, the Kainai Nation had a total registered population of 11,791 people.[3]


  • Government 1
    • Band council 1.1
    • Police force 1.2
  • Notable people 2
  • Media 3
    • Historical Newspapers 3.1
  • Communities 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Band council

The Kainai Nation is governed by an elected council of twelve to fifteen, with one chief. The term of office is four years. Historical chiefs of the Kainai are below:

  • Last of the Hereditary Chiefs Traditional Chief Jim Shot Both Sides (1956–1980)
  • Chief Chris Shade (1996–2004)
  • Chief Charles Weasel Head (2004–present)

Blood Tribe Councillors (2012–present)[4]

  1. Mike Bruised Head
  2. Dorothy First Rider
  3. Marcel Weasel Head
  4. Lance Tailfeathers
  5. Dexter Bruised Head
  6. Franklyn White Quills
  7. Frank Black Plume
  8. Myron Eagle Speaker
  9. Al Black Water
  10. Billy Wadsworth
  11. Nolan Little Bear
  12. Kyla Crow

Police force

In pre-treaty times, the iikunuhkahtsi were a society responsible for the punishment of misdeeds. The Blood reserve is currently policed by the Blood Tribe Police, with 31 officers in 2015.

Notable people


In 1960, the Kainai and their sacred Sun Dance were featured in the National Film Board of Canada documentary Circle of the Sun. Tribal leaders had been concerned that the Sun Dance might be dying out, and had permitted filming as a visual record.[6][7]

On National Aboriginal Day in 2011, the NFB released the Pete Standing Alone trilogy, which includes Circle of the Sun, Standing Alone and a 2010 film, Round Up, documenting 50 years of the Kainai Nation as well as the life of elder Pete Standing Alone.[8]

Historical Newspapers

Kainai News, Volume 1, Issue 9, October 15, 1968
  • Kainai News -- The Kainai News (1968-1991) was one of Canada's first aboriginal newspapers and instrumental in the history of aboriginal journalism in Canada. It was published in southern Alberta by the Blood Indian Tribe and later by Indian News Media. Content focused on a range of local issues within the reserve as well as national issues such as the Indian Act, the Whitepaper and Bill C-31. Of particular significance are editorial cartoons by Everett Soop which were a regular feature of the newspaper. Its first editor way Caen Bly, granddaughter of Senator James Gladstone.[9]
  • Sun Dance Echo -- The Sun Dance Echo (1964-1966) was a predecessor to the Kainai News. It was edited by Reggie Black Plume and occasionally contained articles by Hugh Dempsey.


The Kainai nation communities include:[10]

  • Bullhorn
  • Fish Creek
  • Ft Whoop Up
  • Levern
  • Moses Lake
  • Old Agency
  • Standoff

See also


  1. ^ Alberta Municipal Affairs - 2005 Official Population list - Indian Registered Population. December 2005. Retrieved on 24 September 2006.
  2. ^ Statistics Canada - 2001 Census Aboriginal Population Profile
  3. ^ Blood Tribe Registered Population - Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada -
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Blood Tribe - About Us & Communities listed

External links

  • Kainai Studies - Post secondary educational entity dedicated to Blackfoot teachings
  • Introduction to photo essay from 'Nitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life' museum exhibit
  • Concise description of the Blackfoot tribes
  • Blood Tribe Information Web
  • Pete Standing Alone Trilogy, National Film Board of Canada
  • Brief biography of former chief Roy Fox.
  • Kainai News (1968-1991)
  • Blackfoot Digital Library
  • Blood Tribe page at Treaty 7 Management Corporation website
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