Assiniboin placating the spirit of a slain eagle, photograph by Edward S. Curtis, 1908; from The elipsis
North American Plains Indian
people living mostly on reservations in Montana, U.S., and Saskatchewan and Alberta, Can. They speak a Siouan language
. Their name is derived from an Ojibwa word meaning “one who roasts using stones.” They were divided into band
s, each with its own chief and council, and were generally friendly with American and Canadian settlers. The bands moved their camps frequently in pursuit of migrating buffalo. Prowess in war consisted of taking horses and of touching the enemy (“counting coup”) during battle. Their numbers were severely reduced by smallpox in the 1820s and '30s, after which most were placed on reservations. Assiniboin descendants numbered some 7,000 in the early 21st century.
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.