Traditionally, the Indian nations of the Northern Plains, such as the Blackfoot, were egalitarian. Within Blackfoot society, there were no individuals, no groups of people, who were endowed by a god, creator, or other entity with any more rights than anyone else. As animists, they also viewed all other living things as people, as having souls. Within their egalitarian world-view, all people—humans, animal-people, plant-people, and others—were seen as equals. Humans did not have superior rights, they did not have dominion over the rest of creation. Humans tried to live in harmony with nature.
The Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre, located near Fort Macleod, Alberta, tells the story of the interaction between the buffalo-people and the Blackfoot. Visitors start their tour at the top of the seven-level building which is concealed in the ancient cliff face. Napi’s World, a series of displays on the first level, tells about the environment of southern Alberta and the people—animal, plant, and human—who inhabit it.
Napi is a Blackfoot Culture Hero who transformed the world for the people. Napi was put on Mother Earth by Creator Sun to lead the people to a better way of living. Napi stories explain natural phenomena. Because the Napi stories are oral, they are projected by lights onto large sandstone rocks. Photographs of Napi’s World and other animal-people in the Centre are shown below.
An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.