This history of the Blackfoot Confederacy, an Indian nation whose homelands are in Montana and Alberta, is the first comprehensive and comparative study of Indian-white relations. By doing a detailed examination of Indian policy in both Canada and the United States, especially as it impinged upon the fate of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Samek reveals the experiments and errors, as well as apathy and neglect, on the part of both governments in their attempts at reservation administration, economic development, education, law enforcement, missionary activity, and health care.
Drawing upon an immense body of both published and unpublished materials, Samek focuses on a period when American fascination with Canadian Indian policy was at its peak, an era in which a myth developed on both sides of the border that Canada's experience in Indian affairs was a success. The Indian policy of both countries aimed at assimilating the native population and making them self-supporting. But each government failed in large part because administrators in both countries cut expenditures for services to Indians without understanding that long-term, massive outlays would be necessary to make Indians self-supporting.
This extensive, detailed history of Indian life on American reservations and Canadian reserves will be of interest to all who have a serious interest in Anglo-American and Indian affairs.