Blackfoot Ways of Knowing
The Worldview of the Siksikaitsitapi


Cover image (Blackfoot Ways of Knowing)

Blackfoot Ways of Knowing:The Worldview of the Siksikaitsitapi is a journey into the heart and soul of Blackfoot culture. In sharing her personal story of "coming home" to reclaim her identity within that culture, Betty Bastien offers us a gateway into traditional Blackfoot ways of understanding and experiencing the world. As a scholar and researcher, Bastien is also able to place Blackfoot tradition within the context of knowledge building among indigenous peoples generally, and within a historical context of precarious survival amid colonial displacement and cultural genocide. In mapping her own process of coming to know, Bastien stresses the recovery of the Blackfoot language and of the Blackfoot notions of reciprocal responsibilities and interdependence.

For the Siksikaitsitapi, knowledge is experiential, participatory, and ultimately sacred, rather than objective and inert. Rekindling traditional ways of knowing is essential if First Nations people in Canada are to heal and rebuild their communities and cultures. By sharing what she has learned, Betty Bastien hopes to ensure that the next generation of First Nations people will enjoy a future of hope and peace.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Blackfoot Ways of Knowing 1
Contents 6
Foreword 8
Preface 11
Blackfoot (Siksikaitsipowahsin) Pronunciation Key 19
I. Context 24
1. Introduction 24
2. Innahkootaitsinnika'topi – History of the Blackfoot-Speaking Tribes 30
3. Cultural Destruction – Policies of Ordinary Genocide 49
II. Tribal Protocol and Affirmative Inquiry 58
4. Niinohkanistssksinipi – Speaking Personally 58
5. Traditional Knowledge in Academe 67
6. Cultural Affirmation 74
7. Protocol of Affirmative Inquiry 86
III. Affirmation of Indigenous Knowledge 100
8. Kakyosin – Traditional Knowledge 100
9. Kiitomohpiipotoko – Ontological Responsibilities 107
10. Siksikaitsitapi Ways of Knowing – Epistemology 121
11. Knowledge is Coming to Know Ihtsipaitapiiyo'pa 134
12. Kakyosin/Mokaksin – Indigenous Learning 142
13. Niitsi'powahsinni – Language 150
14. Aipommotsspistsi – Transfers 163
15. Kaaahsinnooniksi – Grandparents 170
IV. Conclusion: Renewal of Ancestral Responsibilities as Antidote to Genocide 174
16. Deconstructing the Colonized Mind 174
17. Eurocentred and Niitsitapi Identity 188
18. Reflections and Implications 195
Afterword: Remembering Ancestral Conversations 207
Siksikaitsipowahsin–English 217
Glossaries 217
English–Siksikaitsipowahsin 239
Bibliography 254