Kainai Nation

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Blood Tribe
Kainai Nation
Band No. 435
Shield of the Kainai Nation
TreatyTreaty 7
HeadquartersStand Off
Main reserveBlood 148
Other reserve(s)
Land area1362.639 km2
Population (2019)[1]
On reserve8,751
Off reserve3,948
Total population12,699
ChiefRoy Fox
  • Floyd Big Head
  • Clarence Black Water
  • Diandra Bruised Head
  • Winston Day Chief
  • Tony Delaney
  • Dorothy First Rider
  • Martin Heavy Head
  • Travis Plaited Hair
  • Richard Red Crow
  • Maria Russell
  • Piinaakoyim Tailfeathers
  • Marcel Weasel Head
bloodtribe.org Edit this at Wikidata
Flag of the Blood Tribe
Stand Off community at night. Kainai Nation.
Kainai Nation entry sign

The Kainai Nation (or Káínawa, or Blood Tribe) (Blackfoot: Káínaa) is a First Nations band government in southern Alberta, Canada, with a population of 12,800 members in 2015,[2] up from 11,791 in December 2013.[3]

Akáínaa translates directly to 'many chief' (from aká, 'many' and nínaa, 'chief') while Káína translates directly to 'many chief people'. The enemy Plains Cree call the Kainai mihkowiyiniw,[4] 'stained with blood', thus 'the bloodthirsty, cruel', therefore, the common English name for the tribe is the Blood tribe.

The Kainai speak a language of the Blackfoot linguistic group; their dialect is closely related to those of the Siksika and Piikani. They are one of three nations comprising the Blackfoot Confederacy.

At the time treaties such as Treaty 7 were signed, the Kainai were situated on the Oldman, Belly, and St. Mary rivers west of Lethbridge, Alberta. The Kainai reserve Blood 148 is currently the largest in Canada with 4,570 inhabitants[5] on 1,410 km2 (545 sq mi) and is located 200 kilometres (120 mi) south of Calgary.


The Kainai Nation is engaged in diverse enterprises and they trade with domestic and international partners. Ammolite mining for example provides a rare highly demanded gem mineral to Asia for Feng Shui. Ammolite is currently known only to be found in the Bearpaw Formation as unique conditions of prehistoric times were optimal for the fossilization of marine life into ammolite.[6] Over the years, mining operations have uncovered several oceanic dinosaur fossils which have been stored for study at the Royal Tyrrell Museum; however, they belong to the Kainai Nation.(Lawrynuik)[7]

Specific claims[edit]

The Kainai Nation filed many specific claims with the federal government. In 2017, a federal court ruled that the Crown had underestimated the band's population, which resulted in the band's reserve being smaller than it should have been. As such, the Blood Tribe reserve could be expanded by 421 square kilometres (163 sq mi), but the community could seek a cash-in-lieu-of-land settlement for this claim instead.[8]

In July 2019, the Kainai Nation settled a claim over Crown mismanagement of the band's ranching assets. The community received a $150 million cash settlement. Chief Roy Fox said that $123 million of this settlement will be used to develop "housing, capital works, a new administration building and a new skating rink".[9]


Band council[edit]

The Kainai Nation is governed by an elected council of twelve to fifteen, with one chief. The term of office is four years. Historical chiefs of the Kainai are below:

  • Last of the Hereditary Chiefs Traditional Chief Jim Shot Both Sides (1956–1980)
  • Chief Chris Shade (1996–2004)
  • Chief Charles Weasel Head (2004–2016)
  • Chief Roy Fox (Makiinimaa – Curlew) (2016–Present)

Blood Tribe Councillors (2019)[10]

  1. Dorothy First Rider (Itoomomaahkaa – Front Runner)
  2. Floyd Big Head (Piitaika’tsis – Eagle Arrow)
  3. Kyla Crow (Komiikakato’saakii – Round Star Woman)
  4. Martin Heavy Head (Ponokaiksikksinamm – White Elk)
  5. Joanne Lemieux (Aahkoyinnimaakii – Pipe Woman)
  6. Robin Little Bear (Soyiikayaakii – Mink Woman)
  7. Kirby Many Fingers (Apanssaapii – Counting Cue)
  8. Hank Shade (Aapiisii – Coyote)
  9. Lance Tailfeathers (Naatsikapoikkanaa – Two Stars Shining)
  10. Tim Tailfeathers (Naato’kisikapiohkitopiyi – Rides Two Grey Horse)
  11. Marcel Weasel Head (Niitsayoohkiitohkitopiyi)
  12. Franklyn White Quills (Makoyaapii – Wolf Old Man)

Police force[edit]

In pre-treaty times, the iikunuhkahtsi were a society responsible for the punishment of misdeeds. The Blood reserve is currently policed by the Blood Tribe Police, with 31 officers in 2015.

Notable people[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In 1960, the Kainai and their Sun Dance were featured in the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) documentary Circle of the Sun. Tribal leaders had been concerned that the Sun Dance might be dying out, and had permitted filming as a visual record.[17][18]

In 1973, the NFB released the documentary Kainai, which discusses the construction and consequences of a factory on their property.[19]

In 2006, community leader Rick Tailfeathers contributed a small ammolite carving of a buffalo skull to the Six String Nation project. The object was permanently mounted on the interior of Voyageur, the guitar at the heart of the project.[20] Following a presentation about the project in September 2014 at Tatsikiisaapo'p Middle School, project creator Jowi Taylor was presented with a braid of sweet grass by school principal Ramona Big Head. The braid resides in the headstock area in the bed of the guitar case.

On National Aboriginal Day in 2011, the NFB released the Pete Standing Alone trilogy, which includes Circle of the Sun, Standing Alone and a 2010 film, Round Up, documenting 50 years of the Kainai Nation as well as the life of elder Pete Standing Alone.[21]

Historical newspapers[edit]

Kainai News, Volume 1, Issue 9, October 15, 1968
  • The Kainai News[22] was one of Canada's first aboriginal newspapers and instrumental in the history of aboriginal journalism in Canada. It was published in southern Alberta by the Blood Indian Tribe and later by Indian News Media. Content focused on a range of local issues within the reserve as well as national issues such as the Indian Act, the Whitepaper and Bill C-31. Of particular significance are editorial cartoons by Everett Soop which were a regular feature of the newspaper. Its first editor way Caen Bly, granddaughter of Senator James Gladstone.[23]
  • The Sun Dance Echo[24] was a predecessor to the Kainai News. It was edited by Reggie Black Plume and occasionally contained articles by Hugh Dempsey.


The Kainai nation communities include:[25]

  • Bullhorn
  • Fish Creek
  • Ft Whoop Up
  • Levern
  • Moses Lake
  • Old Agency
  • Standoff

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "First Nation Detail: Blood". Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Government of Canada. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  2. ^ "Blood Tribe - Kainaiwa". Blood Tribe - Kainaiwa.
  3. ^ Blood Tribe Registered Population - Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada - "Registered Population: Blood". Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. Government of Canada. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
  4. ^ "Search results". www.creedictionary.com. Retrieved 2023-02-02.
  5. ^ [1] - 2016 Census Aboriginal Population Profile
  6. ^ Lawrynuik, S (Feb 22, 2017).'It's like nothing else on earth: Rarest of Gemstones fuels boom for Alberta miners'.CBC News, retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/ammolite-mine-expansion-canada-gems-1.3993105, retrieved on Nov 28, 2017
  7. ^ Narine, S(2002).Fossil discovered in mining operation, Alberta Sweetgrass 9(11) retrieved from http://www.ammsa.com/publications/alberta-sweetgrass/fossil-discovered-mining-operation, retrieved on Nov 28, 2017
  8. ^ "Blood Tribe reserve in southwestern Alberta could expand following court ruling". The Star. 2019-06-12. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  9. ^ "'The right thing to do': Alberta reserve to get $150M in historic cattle claim". The Star. Canadian Press. 2019-07-04. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  10. ^ "Chief and Council". Blood Tribe. Archived from the original on January 24, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  11. ^ "Stu-mick-o-súcks, Buffalo Bull's Back Fat, Head Chief, Blood Tribe by George Catlin". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  12. ^ "Biography – PEENAQUIM – Volume IX (1861-1870) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography". www.biographi.ca.
  13. ^ Dowell, K. L. (2015). "The future looks rad from where I stand: A review of claiming space: Voices of urban aboriginal youth at the UBC museum of anthropology". Anthropologica. 57 (1). ProQuest 1690736642.
  14. ^ "Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers". www.bcnu.org. Archived from the original on 2016-09-12. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  15. ^ "Film Screenings: Banchi Hanuse and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers - SFU Woodward's - Simon Fraser University". www.sfu.ca. Retrieved 2016-09-17.
  16. ^ Indigenous Youth Wellness, Decolonization with Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, retrieved 2019-02-06
  17. ^ Rosenthal, Alan; John Corner (2005-05-13). New challenges for documentary. Manchester University Press. pp. 90–91. ISBN 0-7190-6899-1.
  18. ^ Low, Colin; Gil Cardinal. "Circle of the Sun". Curator's comments. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
  19. ^ "Kainai". onf-nfb.gc.ca. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 14 January 2023.
  20. ^ Jowi., Taylor (2009). Six string nation : 64 pieces, 6 strings, 1 Canada, 1 guitar. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 9781553653936. OCLC 302060380.
  21. ^ Anderson, Kelly (17 June 2011). "NFB celebrates National Aboriginal Day". Realscreen. Toronto. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  22. ^ Kainai News (1968-1991)
  23. ^ Sanderson, Kay (1999). 200 Remarkable Alberta Women. Calgary: Famous Five Foundation. p. 101.
  24. ^ Sun Dance Echo (1964-1966)
  25. ^ Blood Tribe - About Us & Communities listed "About us | bloodtribe". Archived from the original on 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2014-01-23.

External links[edit]