|The following is based on Van Buren and has not been confirmed by canon sources.|
The Blackfoot tribe is unrelated to the Native American tribe of the same name. They were "founded" by a former military group (led by a Captain John Bloch) which was left stranded after its HQ and transport vehicles were destroyed in the war.
Skilled with weapons but lacking the knowledge of how to farm, Bloch's group fell into raiding. During a standoff in one raid on a small ranching community the ranchers called a truce and offered to pay the raiders "protection money" to keep them from raiding. The raiders agreed and that became the start of a successful relationship. As the raiders had few places to spend the money they ended up spending it on equipment, food, and liquor from the ranchers, and the two groups became intermingled over the next decade as disaffected rancher sons went to join the raiders and older raiders "retired" to start ranching.
During this time several wandering groups of Native Americans (who left their reservations after the American government collapsed and there was no longer anything to stop them from claiming nearby land) established a relationship with the raiders/ranchers and the two groups joined together for greater strength; the tribes gain access to some technology and a fortified home, while the raiders/ranchers gained access to skilled outdoorsmen who knew the area very well. A great fire destroyed much of their original settlement and they ended up relocating to a small tourist trap in the hills. They continued to raise their brahmin and make extensive raids into other communities for livestock and supplies. Their firearms succumbed to dirt and wear and over time they forgot how to repair and maintain them, becoming much like any other tribe.
About 20 years later a sickness depleted their available number of younger people, so they took to raiding other tribes for children and teens in order to replenish their numbers. Eventually this scope broadened into slaving for laborers as well as adoptees, and slaving for profit soon followed. Now they are slave-raiders with a fixed base, despised by all others near them for their predation.
The Blackfoots were mostly parasitic, taking things from other tribes and settlements. However, they exported slaves to other tribes and slaving organizations, and when their herds were doing well, they would sell brahmin products to nearby communities.
|End of information based on Van Buren.|
At some point in 2247, Mormon missionary Joshua Graham, as well as two Followers of the Apocalypse - Calhoun and Edward Sallow, the young man later known as Caesar, were captured by the Blackfoot tribe for ransom. At the time the tribe was at war with seven other tribes, a war they were inevitably going to lose. Unwilling to be destroyed along with them, and against the wishes of his companions, Caesar chose to use his knowledge to train the Blackfoot tribe in the art of warfare after witnessing their lack of knowledge first hand. He showed them how to clean and maintain guns, operate with small unit tactics, create their own explosives and to strike at their weakest enemies first; divide et impera - divide and conquer (Latin). He quickly impressed them enough to the point where he was made their leader.
He soon introduced the concept of total war to the tribes around them - Caesar knew that though the tribes had always fought each other via occasional skirmishes, he considered them to only be "playing at war", having never seen warfare at its most destructive and barbaric. They defeated the weakest of their enemies first and enslaved many of the able-bodied survivors but Caesar had the rest, including women and children, killed and their remains piled high. When they confronted the next tribe, they brought an emissary back to view the carnage. The concept of total war was an entirely new, and terrifying, facet to his strategy that they had never confronted before and would form the core of the Legion's tactics and outlook.
Surprisingly, Joshua Graham decided to join Caesar as his right-hand man, now known as the Malpais Legate. While Calhoun was sent back to the Followers to inform them of what he was doing, the other six members of the expedition were murdered on the self-proclaimed Emperor's orders. Caesar formed his Legion out of the tribes that had either been conquered or had chosen to capitulate to avoid total destruction. Caesar chose the concept of the Roman Empire to model the Legion after because of its parallels to what he considered the status-quo of the post-apocalyptic world. Ideologically, the Roman Empire was also appealing to him for its ability to assimilate those it conquered, the destruction of such "tribal" identities a key goal to the Legion's long-term strategy of unification. He intended to erase their individual identities and replace them all with a single, monolithic culture - the Legion - where individuals have no value outside of what they offer the greater whole; long term stability at all costs
Interactions with other locations
The Blackfoots had no interest in ghouls (they considered them walking dead and bad spirits) or super mutants (demons in the flesh of men) and were very unwelcoming of such beings within their town, requiring a lot of diplomacy or gifts to win them over.
Behind the scenes
The Blackfoot Confederacy is an actual Native American tribe that once were nomadic bison hunters in the plains. They ranged from Alberta, Canada to the US state of Montana.