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Nitsitapii (Blackfeet)

Nitsitapii is a Blackfoot word that means "real people" and represents the journey towards becoming whole. The elders of the community believe that by connecting with Natoosi (the Sun), Kiipiitakii (the Moon), and Itsipaatapiiyoop (the source of life), we can develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe. Our self-identity is rooted in ancient values such as love, kindness, empathy, and generosity, which are essential to producing real people who appreciate the sacredness of all beings and their role as caretakers and leaders.


Reconnecting Self-Identity

The preservation of the Nitsitapii way of life was maintained through the transmission of traditional knowledge by previous generations who protected, preserved, and ensured its integrity. This was achieved by the continuation of ceremonies and storytelling, despite them being illegal. The stories hold the key to sacred knowledge and a reconnection to traditional knowledge systems. However, historical trauma has resulted in many Nitsitapii being unaware that their present cycles and fears are consequences of past policies. BEK's projects aim to reconnect the people to their self-identity and restore their sense of being Nitsitapii. 


Above- three Nitsitapii men stand wearing their society blankets (circa 1916  Smithsonian)

Below- three Nitsitapii men stand wearing their society blankets (2022). 

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