The colonial impact of the erasure of Blackfoot Miistakistsi place names in Paahtomahksikimi, Waterton Lakes National Park

Thumbnail Image
Bruised Head, Michael Dean
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of History
The Miistakis (mountains) in Paahtomahksikimi (Waterton Lakes National Park) are sacred for Niitsitapi. The experience of fasting in the mountains is what brought us our healing wisdom from thousands of years ago. When we fast, we call the mountain by its name, for its spiritual presence to be connected to us. The colonial erasure of Blackfoot names and the imposition of European names by colonizers disrupted that relationship, and our access to practise Itaksiistsimoo’pi (Vision Quest) and fasting. I bring a Blackfoot methodology based on lived experience and the transferring of oral history, of knowing from land, and of my language, Niitsipowahsin (Blackfoot). I bring this knowledge transferred from time immemorial, of the relationship between mountains and the Itaksiistsimoo’pi (Vision Quest), into the learning space. My purpose is to record the impact of the mountains no longer being called by their Blackfoot names, and to begin decolonizing the process of obtaining a PhD.
A Note to the Reader Oki, niitanikko Ninna Piiksii, Chief Bird. As the author, I want to give instructions to my paper. I want people to read my dissertation beginning with me instructing them how to read my material. I am talking about Kainai or Apaitsitapi (Weasel People). I would like the reader to look at this from a Kainai perspective and read it from Kainai thought. I am not talking about other Western thought; I am talking about my perspective. I want you to read it this way, my way. I am going to use Kainayssini, our Declaration. Under every Blackfoot sacred Society, we come up with our own metaphysics. Kainayssini is proof of that metaphysics.
Blackfoot Miistakistsi , restoring Blackfoot place names , Blackfoot ways of knowing , oral histories , decolonizing place names , Blackfoot metaphysics , Blackfoot worldview , fasting , Vision Quest , Blackfoot spirituality , sacred ceremonies , Ceremonial sites , Culture, Suppression of , Blackfoot philosophy , Traditional knowledge , Traditional practice , Mountains--Alberta--Waterton Lakes National Park , Decolonization , Vision quests , Fasting , Names, Geographical--Blackfoot , Waterton Lakes National Park (Alta.) , Sacred sites , Dissertations, Academic