When the Blackfoot Indians were confined to reservations in the late nineteenth century, their pictographic representations of warfare kept alive the rituals associated with war, which were essential facets of Blackfoot culture. Their war ethic served as a unifying force among the four tribes of the Blackfoot nation—Siksika, Blood, and North and South Piegan.
In this visually stunning survey, L. James Dempsey, a member of the Blood tribe, plumbs the breadth and depth of warrior representational art. He has mined archival resources and museum collections and interviewed many tribal members to provide a uniquely Native perspective on the importance of warrior art in Blackfoot history and culture. Filled with 160 images of startling beauty and power, Blackfoot War Art tells how pictographs served as a record of both tribal and personal accomplishment.
This singular historical record of all available information on Blackfoot warrior pictography depicts painted robes; war tepee covers, liners, and doors; and painted panels. Dempsey provides descriptions and a great deal of other information about the pieces included here. His survey focuses especially on recent paintings that scholars have overlooked.
In revealing changing trends in the representation of war, Dempsey skillfully weaves together pictures, people, and histories to convey a fascinating view of this warrior art from a Blood perspective.
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L. James Dempsey, a member of the Blood tribe of the Blackfoot Indians, is Associate Professor of the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada.
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