The following was taken from "Tales of the Great Spirit: Minnesota Indian Legacies" published by the Minnesota Department of Economic Development, this tale describes the origins of the falls on the rivers in Red Lake County and of the source of conflict between the Ojibway (Chippewa) and Sioux nations, Or the Turtle river and the Red Lake bands of the Ojibway???????


The Indians of Minnesota have left a priceless legacy of legend and tradition, a small part of which we have tried to preserve in this booklet. Throughout these tales, the Indians have woven their timeless longing for a world of beauty, peace, and love. And although young people will be the most interested readers, we suspect there are many adults who will find in theses legends confirmation of a secret belief that Great Spirit still works his wonders in the shaded forests and azure skies of the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes . . . Minnesota!


Once, when the world was new, a great and old chief lived with his two sons where two rivers met. Both sons were brave and skillful hunters and knew the ways of the world. When they became men, Old Chief sent one brother to the East and the other to the West, each to begin his own nation along the banks of a river. And both nations would also live as brothers in peace.

Many moons passed, and Great Spirit called Old chief from the earth. With his last words, he reminded his sons to lead nations in friendship with each other, and his will was done.

After many more years had come and gone, as brave from the East and a brave from the West met where two rivers mingled. East Brave carried a fine deer, but West Brave carried nothing, for he had been unsuccessful in his hunt. He was angry in his frustration, and when East Brave went to drink from the water, West Brave stood in his path. "This water comes from the West," he said. "But you are from the East. You cannot drink here."

East Brave said, "this water comes from the East, from the land of my people. I have followed its current many days. But even so, we are brother-people, and both of us can drink from the water."

West Brave would not listen. When East Brave bent to drink from the water, West brave drowned him.

The spirit of the Old chief appeared on the water. "This day," he said to West Brave, "you have split the two greatest nations of the earth, the nations of my sons." So overcome at this vision was West Brave that he, too, fell into the water and drowned.

The two nations were brothers no more, but bitter enemies who often walked paths of war. From even when the world was new, war began over little things. So the spirit of Old chief made the water fall where the rivers met, so that no argument would ever again be caused, for the rest of time