Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wamduska Bde: The Origin Of Stump Lake

Sunset at Stump Lake, N.D. Photo By Aaron Barth, The Edge Of The Village.
Wamduska Bde: Serpent Lake
The Origin Of Stump Lake
By Louie Garcia, Spirit Lake Oyate
SPIRIT LAKE, N.D. - They say a long time ago that there was no Stump Lake. The story goes that an underground fire, possibly a vein of coal, burned continuously for about forty years. The ground caved in upon itself, and water from nearby Spirit Lake rushed in to fill it. The tree stumps protruded from the lake inspired the Metis to call it Lac du Chilots, Lake of Snags, or Stump Lake.

The Dakota who lived in the region say that there's an ancient entity that inhabits Stump Lake, a great serpent they call in their language Wamduska, which means Creeping Thing or Serpent, which is one of sixteen spirits of Unktehi, or Large Water Monster. The Dakota came to call the new lake Wamduska Bde, or Lake of the Serpents.

The explorers, traders, and then settlers chose to call it Stump Lake. A name that reflects the natural history of the lake. Lake of the Serpents might have kept people away. 

Today Stump Lake is a place for recreation. Among the many events, which one might call the culture of North Dakota, are a threshing bee, a polka fest, craft shows, music & art, and a country fair. Visit Stump Lake Park for more information.

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