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Native American Legends: Star-Boy (Poia)

Name: Star-Boy
Tribal affiliation: Blackfeet
Blackfoot name: Poia, Poïa, Boh-yi-yi, Payoowa, Pawaksskii, Pawakksski
Also known as: Star Boy, Starboy, Scarface, Scar Face, False-Morning-Star, Mistaken-for-Morning-Star, Pahtsipisoahs, Pahtsiipisowaahs, Poks-o-piks-o-aks
Type: Hero, star
Related figures in other tribes: White Buffalo Woman (Sioux)

Star-Boy is a magical hero of Blackfoot mythology who is the son of a mortal woman named Feather Woman and the immortal Morning Star. After Star-Boy and his mother are banished he is known as Poia instead, translated as "Scar-Face" in English (from the Blackfoot word payoo, "scar.") Later he is known for a while as Pahtsipisoahs, "false morning star," because of his resemblance to his father. It was very common for Blackfoot people, especially boys and men, to take on new names several times in their life, so these temporary name changes did not confuse Blackfoot listeners the way they confused some anthropologists!

In astronomy, Star-Boy/Poia is associated with the planet Jupiter, which "travels" across the night sky much like his father the Morning Star. Although all of our Blackfoot speakers identified Poia as Morning-Star's son, there is at least one recorded version in which Feather Woman plays no role and Poia was an ordinary mortal boy adopted by Morning-Star as his brother instead. Ritually, Star-Boy is important to the Blackfoot Sun Dance, which he is credited with bringing to the people in forgiveness for his mother's fall from grace.

Star-Boy Stories

*The Star Bride:
    The tragic love story between Morning-Star and Feather-Woman, resulting in the banishment of Star-Boy.
*The Story of Poia:
    Classic Blackfoot legend about the young hero Scar-Face (Poia).
*Scarface and the Sweatlodge:
    In this alternate version of the story, Scarface is the adopted brother of Morningstar, not his son.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

Star Boy:
    Picture book telling the story of the Blackfoot hero Star Boy.
Mythology of the Blackfoot Indians:
    Collection of traditional Blackfoot legends and folktales.
Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies:
    Anthology of folklore from the Blackfoot and other Northern Plains tribes.

Sponsored Links

Additional Resources

 Blackfoot myth
 Blackfoot tribes
 Blackfoot names
 Montana Indians
 Tribes of the Great Plains
 Algonquian people

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