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Blood Tribe (Kainaiwa Nation)


The Kainai reserve, which is the largest reserve in Canada, is located approximately 200 km south of Calgary. It straddles Highway #2 south of Fort Macleod, and stretches west of Cardston in the south to the city of Lethbridge city limits in the northeast. The Kainai business community is located in the townsite of Standoff, at the junction of Highway #2 and Secondary Road #505.

The People

T7MC - Blood Tribe
Early legends tell the story of a Blackfoot who visited a Kainaiwa camp. He asked "Who is the Chief here?" When the men nearby heard this question, they all answered "I am." The Blackfoot then stated, "I will call you the Tribe of Many Chiefs." This was how they received the name Kainai (from Aka - "many" and Nina - "chief"). The current chief of the Blood Tribe is Chief Charles Weasel Head. With reference to the name "Blood", this was the name given to them from the first traders as a result of the Red Ochre, which they used on their faces and ceremonial objects.

Early in the 1800's, the Kainaiwa lived and hunted primarily in southern and southeastern Alberta, and in northern Montana. Although at that time there were non man-made boundaries, the favourite hunting places for the Kainaiwa were in the region of the Hand Hills near Drumheller, in the Sweetgrass Hills regions, and in the present Lethbridge district. Some of their best wintering grounds were along the Belly River, the Highwood River, and for the northern bands, along the Battle River.

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