Nearby Broken Bone Hill, west of the lake, overlooks Broken Bone Lake, ND.
KAȞÚĞA MNí: BREAK-INTO-BONE LAKE
By Dakota Wind
Rugby, N.D. – East of present-day Rugby is the Pleasant Lake National Wildlife Refuge. In the early days of statehood, settlers to the area and noticed this modest tree-lined lake. The natural features and shade of the lake seemed agreeable to the settlers and they named it Pleasant Lake.
The Dakȟóta who lived in the area and who, up until the reservation period, hunted in the area, camped frequently along this lake, finding it agreeable as well, and though they found it as pleasant as the settlers, had another name for it: Kaȟúğa Mní, which means To-Break-In-To [as in “Bone”] Lake, which was freely translated as Broken Bone Lake.
A woman prepares a hide in a Dakhota encampment, by Karl Bodmer.
After a successful hunt, the men returned to camp with their quarry where the women quartered and cleaned the carcasses. The hides were carefully stretched and fleshed. Some hides were fleshed and shaved in the sun, whereupon they became rawhide for parfleche boxes and moccasin soles. Hides which were fleshed and tanned with that animal’s brain became hides useful for creating clothing, or for other uses.
Meat is dried and prepared for use over the coming winter months.
After the meat was cut and drying on a rack, becoming “jerked,” and after the hides were prepared for tanning, attention was turned to the bones. The bones were split and broken open to acquire the marrow within, which was then boiled and consumed.
An antler pyramid on the Great Plains by Karl Bodmer.
Sometimes tools were made from the antlers of deer or elk, but sometimes not. In those times when deer or elk antlers were not used, they were piled into an “antler pyramid.” Those places with such pyramids indicated that a regular hunting site was in nearby.
Broken Bone Lake is part of the Pleasant Lake National Willdlife Refuge management area which consists of Pleasant Lake, Broken Bone Lake, Broken Bone Hill, Horseshoe Lake, and Mud Lake.