The Blackfoot Legend of Ammolite

Ammolite Specimen. Photo Credit: Rock Hounds. Ammolite Specimen. Photo Credit: Rock Hounds.

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Snow covered the harsh northern terrain. Food was scarce, and the buffalo were staying low and out of sight. Hope dwindled among the native Blackfoot tribe as food stores ran out.
One young woman, the wife of a Blackfoot brave, set out into the deeper snow drifts in search of firewood. In the silence of the snowy morning, a melody floated upon the wind. Transfixed by the beautiful song, she followed the voice deeper into the woods.

There, at the base of a cottonwood tree, the young woman discovered a shimmering, colorful stone. The singing spirit explained that the stone would bring fortune to her people. The woman listened as the spirit instructed her in its use for medicine and for calling the buffalo.

Upon returning to her village with the sacred treasure, the woman presented Iniskim (buffalo stone) to her elders, who promptly heeded the spirit's words and performed a buffalo ceremony.

The next morning, a large herd of buffalo presented itself to the tribe. Hope was restored, and a new talisman was assimilated into Blackfoot tradition. Since that day the Blackfoot have carried ammolite, secured within the hide of a buffalo, to use in their hunting ceremonies.


1. Mac's Gems. "Canadian Ammolite." Accessed June 14, 2013.
2. Ruby Blue Jewelry. "Ammolite Mineralogy and Lore." Accessed June 14, 2013.