Alexander Culbertson and Natoyist-Siksina' Among the Blackfeet
This dual biography highlights the human dimensions of the Upper Missouri fur trade. Focusing on two major figures, Alexander Culbertson (1809-1879), trader with the American Fur Company, founder of Fort Benton, and the first white American to live among the Blackfeet Indians, and his wife, Natoyist-Siksina' ("Holy Snake") (1825-1893), daughter of Two Suns, the chief of the Blood (Kainah) tribe, Lesley Wischmann shows the great influence this couple had on the region. Culbertson and Natoyist-Siksina' worked together for thirty years to promote cooperative relations between Native inhabitants and newly arrived white adventurers and played key roles in the Fort Laramie Treaty Conference of 1851 and treaty negotiations with the Blackfeet tribes in 1855. As she tells the story of these "frontier diplomats," Wischmann also challenges conventional wisdom about the character of fur traders, the nature of the Blackfeet, and the role of Indian women.
400 pp ~ illustrated — ©2004