Mootookakio’ssin began with an advisory circle with Blackfoot Elders in July 2018 to discuss the digitization of Blackfoot items that are part of museum collections in England. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Blackfoot nations were subject to an extensive program of “ethnographic salvage” by colonial travellers, resulting in large collections of Blackfoot cultural heritage in European museums (Brown 2014). Only a few Blackfoot people have been able to travel to Europe to visit these collections, witnessing how much material knowledge has been lost through their absence. While the repatriation of such items remains complex for both museums and the Blackfoot, the Elders at the 2018 advisory circle recognized how virtual access would fit with ongoing efforts to revitalize Blackfoot art and craft. From here, we proceed with deep sensitivity about the types of objects we view and display, the ownership of the data, and privacy of some related knowledge.

Elders from Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, and Amskapipiikani
are directing the project.

The project emerged from conversations with Blackfoot Elders. We meet regularly to discuss various aspects of the project, receive direction, and ensure that protocols are followed.

All data generated through the project will become part of the Blackfoot Digital Library and therefore belongs to the Blackfoot people.

Unless otherwise specified, copyright and intellectual property is held by the Blackfoot people and administered by the Blackfoot Digital Library.

Only images of non-sacred items will be publicly displayed.

All items that are displayed on the website or during events have been identified as non-sacred and non-ceremonial by our Elder advisory. They were chosen based on their utilitarian use and general value for the community to see.

We are only drawing on public knowledge to describe the Blackfoot items.

All information displayed with the items is offered and vetted by Elders, pulled from public sources, including websites, books, and exhibits. Blackfoot authors and sources are always prioritized.