Firewater: the impact of the whisky trade on the Blackfoot nation
Between 1870 and 1875, hundreds of Blackfoot Indians died as a result of the whisky trade, either killed in drunken quarrels, shot by whisky traders, frozen to death while drunk, or from the poisonous effects of the whisky itself. Chiefs lost their authority, people traded everything they owned, and entire communities were decimated. At first, alcohol was only available during visits to the Hudson's Bay or North West Company trading posts, but when Montana traders began to pour unlimited supplies of whisky into Blackfoot camps in exchange for buffalo robes, the Blackfoot were swept into a malestrom of alcohol, violence, and death. Historian Hugh Dempsey offers a comprehensive and highly readable look at the people and history of the trade, the impact on Native peoples, and its effect on US-Canada relations. He includes new research and a thoughtful exploration of the events and circumstances that brought a proud people to their knees.
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Beginnings of the Liquor Trade
The Turbulent Sixties
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alcohol Alfred Sully American arrived Assiniboine became Belly River Benton Blackfeet Blackfeet Reservation Blackfoot Bow River British possessions buffalo robes Calf Shirt Calgary camp Canadian Charles Conrad chief Company Creek Cypress Hills Dave Akers drinking Dusold Edmonton Elbow River forts furs Glenbow Archives Healy & Hamilton Healy and Hamilton Helena Daily Herald Highwood River horses Howell Harris I. G. Baker Ibid illicit Indian Affairs Indian agent Indian country Jerry Potts Joe Kipp John Healy John LaMott killed later Letter liquor lodge Macleod Marias River McDougall miles Montana Historical Society Montana Superintendency Mounted Police murder NARA North Peigans nwmp Oldman River Papers party Power & Bro Riplinger roll selling shot Siksika Spitzee Cavalry Sun River Superintendency of Indian T. C. Power told trading post trail tribes Viall wagon Washington Weatherwax Wetzel whisky traders Whoop-Up Whoop-Up country William winter wolf wolfers