Amskapi Pikuni

The Blackfeet People

By Clark Wissler & Alice Beck Kehoe
Contributions by Stewart E. Miller

Subjects: Indigenous Studies, Anthropology
Paperback : 9781438443348, 300 pages, January 2013
Hardcover : 9781438443355, 300 pages, August 2012

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Memorial to Stewart Miller, by Walter Lamar
1. Wissler’s 1933 Manuscript
2. The Amskapi Pikuni from the 1950s to 2010, by Chief Earl Old Person
3. Bungling
4. Schooling
5. The Ranchers
6. About Clark Wissler

A contemporary history of one of the best-known American Indian nations.


Written in collaboration with Blackfoot tribal historians and educators, Amskapi Pikuni: The Blackfeet People portrays a strong native nation fighting for two centuries against domination by Anglo invaders. The Blackfeet endured bungling, corrupt, and drunken agents; racist schoolteachers; and a federal Indian Bureau that failed to disburse millions of dollars owed to the tribe. Located on a reservation in Montana cut and cut again to give land to white ranchers, the Blackfeet adapted to complete loss of their staple food, bison—a collapse of what had been a sustainable economy throughout their history. Despite all of these challenges, the nation held to its values and continues to proudly preserve its culture.

Clark Wissler (1870–1947) was an American anthropologist and a specialist in North American ethnography, focusing on the Indians of the Plains. He was the first anthropologist to perceive the normative aspect of culture, to define it as learned behavior, and to describe it as a complex of ideas, all characteristics of culture that are today generally accepted. Alice Beck Kehoe is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Marquette University. She is the author of many books, including Controversies in Archaeology; The Ghost Dance: Ethnohistory and Revitalization, Second Edition; and North American Indians: A Comprehensive Account, Third Edition. Stewart E. Miller (1950–2008) was a Blackfeet tribal member who worked at the Tribal Historic Preservation Office. He collaborated with Kehoe, providing much of the research material and ensuring that the text reflected Blackfoot culture correctly, until he passed away suddenly in 2008.


"Amskapi Pikuni is a wonderful book that provides an authoritative reference on Blackfeet history, and that also offers Wissler as an intriguing primary source through which to consider Blackfeet historiography, and the history of anthropology and Native studies more broadly … Kehoe, Miller, Earl Old Person, and the book's other collaborators have made important contributions with their revision and publication of Wissler's manuscript, not only to the environmental, cultural, and social histories of the Blackfeet, but also to the intellectual and political histories of anthropology and native studies as scholarly disciplines." — Canadian Journal of Native Studies

"The book is significant for not only bringing Wissler's contribution to light, but also as a testimony to the persistence of Blackfeet heritage through time … Highly recommended." — CHOICE