Between 1870 and 1875, hundreds of Blackfoot Indians died as a result of the whisky trade, either killed in drunken quarrels, shot by whisky traders, frozen to death while drunk, or from the poisonous effects of the whisky itself. Chiefs lost their authority, people traded everything they owned, and entire communities were decimated.
At first, alcohol was only available during visits to the Hudson's Bay or North West Company trading posts, but when Montana traders began to pour unlimited supplies of whisky into Blackfoot camps in exchange for buffalo robes, the Blackfoot were swept into a malestrom of alcohol, violence, and death.
Historian Hugh Dempsey offers a comprehensive and highly readable look at the people and history of the trade, the impact on Native peoples, and its effect on US-Canada relations. He includes new research and a thoughtful exploration of the events and circumstances that brought a proud people to their knees.
About the author
Hugh Dempsey is an author, historian, and researcher. He is the former associate director of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, and is currently its chief curator emeritus. He is also the editor of the quarterly Alberta History. Dempsey was made an honorary chief of the Kainai Blackfoot in 1967 and in 1975 was invested as a member of the Order of Canada. He is the author of more than twenty books, including The Great Blackfoot Treaties, Maskepetoon, Firewater, and Crowfoot.
Other titles by Hugh Dempsey
The Great Blackfoot Treaties
The Amazing Death of Calf Shirt and Other Blackfoot Stories
Three Hundred Years of Blackfoot History
Leader, Warrior, Peacemaker
Heaven is Near the Rocky Mountains
The Golden Age of the Canadian Cowboy
An Illustrated History
Chief of the Blackfeet
The True Story of a Canadian Indian's Last Stand