Here are the great stories of the Blackfeet, recorded by the famous conservationist and ethnologist, George Bird Grinnell, who became a tribal member in 1885. The Nizitapi, or Real People, as they call each other, were people of the buffalo. They originated on the plains of today’s southern Alberta, western Saskatchewan, and central Montana. Famed frontier artist George Catlin called the Blackfeet “the most powerful tribe of Indians on the continent.” Like many native people, the Blackfeet have stories and legends that originated centuries ago, perhaps thousands of years ago, and were passed down from generation to generation through an oral tradition.
Early explorers heard the stories directly from the Blackfeet and wrote them down. One of these writers was George Bird Grinnell, the famous conservationist and ethnologist who became a tribal member in 1885. Grinnell visited the Blackfeet in Montana almost annually for more than 40 years. He coined the phrase, “Crown of the Continent” for the nearby mountains and helped create Glacier National Park. He wrote numerous acclaimed books on Indian culture. The timeless legends and tales he recorded in “Blackfeet Indian Stories” make it one of his most enduring and entertaining books.