Native Languages of the Americas: Blackfeet Indian Legends, Myths, and Stories
This is our index of Blackfoot folktales and traditional stories that can be read online.
We have organized our American Indian legends section
by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same
legend are often told by American Indians from different tribes, especially if those tribes are kinfolk or neighbors to
each other. In particular, though these legends come from the Blackfoot tribe, the traditional stories of
related tribes like the
Gros Ventre and Plains Cree are very similar.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Blackfoot legend for this page, please let us know.
Click on each character's name for more detailed information about his or her role in Blackfoot mythology.
Old Man (also known by his Blackfoot name, Naapi, or spelling
variants such as Napi, Napiw, etc.):
Naapi is the culture hero of the Blackfoot tribe (sometimes referred to as a "transformer" by folklorists.)
He is a trickster, a troublemaker, and sometimes a foolish person, but he is also responsible for shaping of the world the Blackfeet live in and
frequently helps the people. He is assisted in these tasks by his wife,
Old Lady (Kipitaakii in Blackfoot).
Naapi shares some similarities with other Algonquian heroes such as the Cree
Glooscap, and Anishinabe
Manabus, and many of the same stories
are told in different Algonquian tribes with only the identity of the protagonist differing. Napi is pronounced similar to nah-pee, and Kipitaki is
pronounced similar to kih-pih-tah-kee.
This is the Blackfoot name for the Creator (God,) who is also known
by the name Ihtsipatapiyohpa ("Source of Life") or, in English, Great Spirit.
Apistotoki is a divine spirit with no human form or attributes and is never personified in Blackfoot folklore. The name is
pronounced similar to ah-piss-toh-toh-kee.
(Sspommitapiiksi in Blackfoot):
Also known as the Sky People or Sky Beings, these sacred spirits were the first creations of Apistotoke and live in the Sky World far
above the clouds.
Naato'si (also spelled
Natosi and other ways): This is the Blackfoot sun god, ruler of the Sky People.
Some anthropologists consider him to be the same as Apistotoke, but our Blackfoot speakers are adamant that they are two
different mythological figures and Naato'si, although the principal god of the Blackfoot people, was not the one who created
the universe. "Naato'si" is pronounced nah-toh-see, and literally means "holy one," though
it is often used to refer to the sun in everyday speech as well.
Naato'si is married to the Moon, Komorkis, and his son is the hero Morning Star, Iipisowaahs.
(also known as Komorkis): The moon goddess, and the wife of Naato'si the Sun. Together they are the parents of the stars.
In Blackfoot, her name is pronounced similar to koh-koh-mih-kih-summ.
(also known as Apisirahts): Morning Star, the most important of Naato'si and Ko'komiki'somm's star children. He is the father
(or by some some tellings, the adopted brother) of the mortal hero Star Boy.
A magical hero who is the son of a Blackfoot woman (Soatsaki, or
Feather Woman) and the immortal Morning Star. After he and his mother are banished he is known as Poia instead,
translated as "Scar-Face" in English (from the Blackfoot word payoo, "scar,") and after visiting the Sky Land his scar is
healed and he gains the additional name of Mistaken-for-Morning-Star (because of his resemblance to Morning Star.)
It was very common for Blackfoot people,
especially boys and men, to take on new names several times in their life, so these name changes did not confuse
Blackfoot listeners the way they confused some anthropologists!
Blood-Clot Boy (also known by his Blackfoot name,
Katoyis): A mythical Blackfoot hero who has many adventures slaying monsters and wicked people.
Thunder Bird (Ksiistsikomiipi'kssiiwa or Ksistsikumipitaw.)
A huge bird of prey, common to the mythology of most Plains Indian tribes,who is responsible for creating thunderstorms.
In some Blackfoot legends, the Thunders are part of the Above People and have human form, instead of being giant birds.
They are the sworn enemy of Horned Snakes and are frequently invoked as guardian spirits.
Horned Snake (Big Water Snake, Omachk-soyis-ksiksinai or Omahksoyisksiksina.)
A fearsome water-monster that lurks in lakes and rivers and eats people. Blackfoot people often blamed Horned Snakes for drowning
Little People in Blackfoot Indian stories are usually child-sized, benevolent, and shy nature spirits. They are said to have a variety of
magical powers, most often the ability to become invisible or shapeshift into animals. In many legends they reveal themselves
only to children, with whom they have a special affinity.