Native Americans * List of languages * What's new on our site

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.

Sponsored Links

Important Blackfoot Mythological Figures

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 does good deeds to help 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 Wisakedjak, Wabanaki 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.

Apistotoke: 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.

Above-People (Sspommitapiiksi in Blackfoot): Also known as the Sky People, Sky Beings, or Sky Gods, 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.

Ko'komiki'somma (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.

Iipisowaahs (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 Starboy.

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 where his scar is healed, 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 deaths.

Sand Hills: This is not a person but a place. It is the Blackfoot afterworld, where the souls of the dead reside. It is also known as the Shadow-Land.

Little People: 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.

Blackfoot Indian Folklore

*Indian Why Stories:
    Online collection of Blackfoot and Chippewa-Cree legends from Montana.
*Blackfeet Creation Tale:
    Blackfeet myths about the creation of the world.
*Earth Diver Myths:
    Comparison of Blackfoot and Iroquois creation myths.
*Old Man and Old Woman * Woman Chooses Death * The Origin of Death:
    Blackfeet Indian stories about the creation of humans and why people die.
*How The Old Man Made People:
    A different Blackfoot creation myth, with Nape and Coyote creating people together.
*The Mistakes of Old-Man:
    Blackfoot myth about Naapi placing animals upon the earth.
*Origin of the Worm Pipe: * How the Worm Pipe Came to the Blackfoot:
    Blackfoot legends about the origin of the sacred Worm Pipe.
*The Sacred Weed * A Tobacco Legend:
    Blackfoot myths about nawak'osis, tobacco.
*Origins of the Buffalo Dance:
    Blackfoot myths about the beginning of the Buffalo Dance.
*The Theft from Sun * The Fire-Leggings:
    Blackfoot stories about Napi trying to steal the Sun's pants.
*Why the Birch Tree Wears the Slashes in its Bark:
    Blackfoot legend about Napi's fight with a birch tree.
*Old Man and the Roasted Squirrels * A Meal For Nata'yowa:
    Lynx steals food from Napi and suffers the consequences.
*Blood Clot Boy * Kut-o'-yis:
    Blackfoot saga of the hero Blood Clot Boy.
*The Story of Poia * Star Boy * Scarface and the Sweatlodge:
    Blackfeet stories about the young hero Scarface.
*The Piqued Buffalo Wife:
    The Blackfoot legend of the hero Calfboy.
*The First Men and Women Marry:
    Blackfeet myth about how men and women first chose spouses.
*Buffalo and Eagle Wing:
    Blackfoot Indian legend about a broken promise to the buffaloes.
*Little Friend Coyote:
    Blackfoot story about a coyote who helped a Piegan widow escape from the Kutenais.
*The Snake With Big Feet:
    Blackfeet legend about the origin of the Shoshone tribe.
*The Falcon and the Duck:
    Blackfoot folktale about a boastful duck.
*The Ancient Buffalo Stone * The Buffalo Rock:
    Blackfoot Indian myths about iniskim, the buffalo stone.
*Beaver Medicine * Two Brothers:
    Blackfeet legends about a boy deceived by his sister-in-law.
*Adventures Of Bull Turns Round:
    Another Blackfeet story about a young hero and a deceitful sister-in-law.
*Beaver Meat:
    Why not to anger the beavers.
*Why Blackfeet Never Kill Mice:
    How Mouse helped man become ruler of the animals.
*Legend of the Crazy Dog Society:
    Myth about the origins of one of the traditional Blackfoot warrior societies.
*Chief Mountain:
    Legend about a Pikuni chief's widow who went mad with grief.
*How Muskrat Created The World:
    Legends about Muskrat from the Blackfoot, Ojibway, Mohawk, and Potawatomi tribes.
*The Orphan Boy and the Elk Dogs: * How A Piegan Warrior Found The First Horses:
    19th-century legends about how horses came to the Blackfeet.
*The Warrior That Ate The Horned Snake:
    Blackfoot legend about a man who offended the Horned Snakes and was changed into one as punishment.
*Cold-Maker's Medicine:
    Blackfoot legend about the Winter spirit destroying an evil witch.
*The Wolfman * The Wolf Man:
    Blackfoot stories about a man saved from his murderous wives by wolves.

Sponsored Links

Recommended Books on Blackfoot Mythology
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links

The Sun Came Down: The History of the World as My Blackfeet Elders Told It:
    Excellent book of Blackfoot myths and oral history, told by a tribal elder.
The Vengeful Wife and other Blackfoot Stories:
    Another excellent collection of Blackfoot legends and oral history.
Blackfoot Stories of Old:
    Legends and traditional stories in the original Blackfoot language, with English translation.
Mythology of the Blackfoot Indians:
    Classic collection of traditional Blackfoot myths and folktales.
American Indian Genesis: The Blackfeet Story of Creation:
    The Blackfoot creation myth, told by a Siksika author.
Blackfeet Indian Stories * Blackfoot Lodge Tales:
    Books of Blackfoot folklore collected by anthropologist George Bird Grinnell.
When Bear Stole the Chinook:
    Children's book illustrating a Blackfeet Indian story about how Weasel retrieved the warm spring wind from Bear.
Storm Maker's Tipi:
    Picture book based on Blackfeet Indian myths about the origin of tepees and storm medicine.
Blackfeet Tales from Apikuni's World * Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park * Legends Told by the Old People:
    Additional books of Blackfeet mythology.
The Amazing Death of Calf Shirt and other Blackfoot Stories:
    Collection of Blackfoot oral history and traditional storytelling.
Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies:
    Anthology of folklore from the Blackfoot and other Northern Plains tribes.
Turtle Island: Tales of the Algonquian Nations:
    Anthology of legends from the Blackfoot and other Algonquian tribes.
American Indian Trickster Tales:
    Compilation of more than a hundred stories about Napi and other Native American tricksters.
    (Use discretion sharing these with kids as some of the stories contain adult humor.)

Additional Resources

 Books of American Indian legend
 Indian religion and culture
 Siksika words
 Blackfoot Indian tribe
 Indian tribes of Montana
 Plains Indians
 Algonquian languages
 Native American language families

Back to the Blackfoot language site
Buy books by American Indian authors
Learn more about the Blackfoot Indian tribe.

Native American art galleries * Native names * Tribal tattoo designs

Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?

Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2020 * Contacts and FAQ page