CrowfootA huge box containing pictures, gathered by several generations of mothers, is a real gold mine of information on our ancestors.  Mothers have identified and preserved these witnesses of another era.


One picture properly identified draws my attention: a search on internet revealed the following:

Here’s a summary of the story:

Blackfoot’s loyalty was at stake during the rebellion and it was creating serious concerns at a certain point amongst the Calgary population for they feared an attack.  They sent father Lacombe to Crowfoot’s camp to investigate.  The latter told father Lacombe that eventhough he was receiving frequent messages from the Cree tribe and that Poundmaker was in the midst of the conflict, he had no intention of taking part in the uprising.  When the news reached Ottawa, the governor general, lord Lansdowne (Petty- Fitzmaurice) thanked Crowfoot on behalf of the Queen and Sir John A. Macdonald agreed with a round of applause.  The following year (1885) to recognize their loyalty, Crowfoot and his foster brother, No-okska-stumik (Three Bulls) were brought to Montreal and Quebec for a trip along with father Lacombe.  Crowfoot became an immediate celebrity to journalists and the public.  His imposing stature and the classical features of an Indian were a true representation of the romantic image of the “noble Indian”.  Upon returning from Quebec, he stopped in Ottawa and met Macdonald , he called him his brother-in-law in the Indian language.

 

Crowfoot became a VIP in Canada, but he was a sad person, especially during the last ten years of his life.  He became more and more disappointed of the treatment given to his people by government employees and representatives.  His health began to deteriorate and a series of tragedy affected his private life.  Crowfoot had as many as ten wives – generally three or four at a time.  His preference went to Sisoyaki (Cutting Woman), she accompanied him when he went to other Indian reserves to the point of occupying the best spot in the tent next to him.  Despite his numerous wives, Crowfoot only had four children reaching maturity, one of which was his only son, Kyi-i-staah (Bear Ghost) who was blind.  Boys were preferred in tribes.  A great number of his other children died of tuberculosis.  To make matters worse, his foster son, Poundmaker, was made prisoner for the role he played in the uprising.  He was freed in 1886 for the sake of Crowfoot and he died four months later at Crowfoot’s camp.