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The Piegan, by Edward Curtiss [ca 1900] (Public Domain Image)
The Piegan, by Edward Curtiss [ca 1900] (Public Domain Image)

The Old North Trail

by Walter McClintock


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Walter McClintock went to Montana with a US Forestry Service expedition in 1896. He spent the next four years living on the land with the Blackfeet, one of the most northern of the Great Plains tribes. He was adopted into the tribe by the Chief Mad Dog, and got a chance to learn their traditions firsthand. The book presents Blackfeet folklore and religious traditions in context. The narrative of his gradual adoption into Blackfeet society is a classic Western tale, but it is also a classic of 19th century ethnography. Unfettered by modern anthropological protocols and given total access by his hosts, McClintock produced the primary source on the Blackfeet just after the collapse of their traditional way of life.

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Title Page
Chapter I. My Introduction to the Blackfeet
Chapter II. My Adoption By Mad Wolf
Chapter III. Hunting in the Rocky Mountains
Chapter IV. A Rocky Mountain Blizzard
Chapter V. Mad Wolf Gives the Beaver Medicine Ceremonial
Chapter VI. Legend of the Beaver Medicine
Chapter VII. My Rocky Mountain Goat Hunt
Chapter VIII. Winter On the Plains
Chapter IX. Ghost Stories
Chapter X. Reminiscences of Father De Smet
Chapter XI. Sun Worship
Chapter XII. Beginning of the Sun-Dance
Chapter XIII. Marriage Customs
Chapter XIV. Forming the Sun-Dance Camp
Chapter XV. Painted Tipis
Chapter XVI. The Sun-Dance Camp
Chapter XVII. Evening Scenes in the Camp
Chapter XVIII. An Initiation Into the Medicine Pipe Society
Chapter XIX. Ceremonial Transferring the Medicine Pipe
Chapter XX. Dance of the Kisapa Society
Chapter XXI. Ceremonial of the Sun-Dance
Chapter XXII. Raising the Centre Pole
Chapter XXIII. Inside the Sun-Lodge
Chapter XXIV. Along the Old North Trail
Chapter XXV. Spotted Eagle's Mythical Stories of Old Man
Chapter XXVI. Onesta And The Bear Spear
Chapter XXVII. Camp of the Bloods
Chapter XXVIII. Camp of Brings-down-the-Sun
Chapter XXIX. Proper Names
Chapter XXX. Onesta Gives the Crow Beaver Ceremonial
Chapter XXXI. The Rival Leaders
Chapter XXXII. Events in the Life of Brings-down-the-Sun
Chapter XXXIII. The Old North Trail
Chapter XXXIV. Blackfeet Societies
Chapter XXXV. The Mutsaix (Society of Brave Dogs)
Chapter XXXVI. Legends of the Friendly Medicine Grizzly and the Friendly Medicine Wolf
Chapter XXXVII. Brings-down-the-Sun Talks About Birds And The Stars
Chapter XXXVIII. Legend of Poïa, the Christ Story of the Blackfeet
Chapter XXXIX. The Present and Future of the Blackfeet
Appendix I. Black Feet Indian Songs
Appendix II. Notes
Appendix II (continued): Catalog of Botanical Collection
Appendix II (continued): Genealogical Table of Brings-down-the-Sun's Family