Published on November 20, 2012 by Casey
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Tribal affiliation: Blackfoot
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
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 he 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 this temporary name change did not confuse Blackfoot listeners the way it 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.