Lesson 506 – Blackfeet and Bison

For well over a thousand years, the Blackfeet people of Montana have made their home where the Great Plains meet the
Rocky Mountain in Glacier National Park. For them, the bison (or American buffalo, as they call it) has been central to their
survival, their culture, and their way of life. We join them as they seek to expand their once-threatened tribal herds of bison. We
venture inside the park to find why the Blackfeet viewed it as sacred ground.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about the Blackfeet people of Montana, their survival, culture, and way of life.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places, & Environments: B, G

Discussion Prompts

  • The area of the Glacier National Park is called the “crown” of the continent. What is the importance of its name and what difference does it make? What might be some of the reasons for that name?
  • On the video you heard that the glaciers may be gone by 2030. What might be some of the consequences of the disappearance of the glaciers for humans and the ecosystem?
  • Browning is the home of the Blackfeet Nation. What are some of the things that you learned in the video that speak to the importance of it? What town in your region could be compared to Browning? Why?
  • Bison was considered a walking supermarket. Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Explain your reasons. What animal, native to your region, is used as well as the bison?

Lesson Activities

  • Create a drawing: A moment in time at the crown of the Continent. Include animals, vegetation, a symbol representing the Blackfeet people, and glaciers in your drawing along with a note explaining it.
  • Bison, beaver, and Blackfeet people play a very important role in the region’s ecosystem. Show in a diagram of your choice how their roles interacting with each other and the ecosystem.
  • Beavers’ dams/lodges are extremely important to the vitality of our ecosystem. Beavers build their dams using twigs, sticks, grass, rocks, and mud. Build a beaver dam substituting the materials available in nature for the ones available in your classroom.
  • Write a story about one of your traditions to tell your friends, orally. Include two important facts from the video that you wish to add to your story.


  • aretes
  • ascend
  • carnivorous
  • continent
  • dams
  • ecosystem
  • glaciers
  • impoundments
  • intact
  • ungulates


In the Americas Season 5 Lesson Episode 6