Hiawatha and Minnehaha

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I love spontaneous road trips and I try to make the most of them with every opportunity. . . perfect endings to a perfect day is my cup of tea.


Driving down interstate 35 I was calculating in my mind how far Minnehaha Falls was from my friend’s house. I  wasn’t sure if we would have time to venture “uptown” and then down winding roads to the falls after we took care of her business. Surprisingly – we had about five hours of daylight left with nothing planned but dinner, it was then we both decided …let’s go!


Driving through “uptown” Minneapolis we dodged cars, made  u-turns, & stayed determined. And just as the sun was setting we found what we were looking for.

I hope you enjoy reading about Hiawatha and Minnehaha and their love for each other. How they lived along this river during the time of Native American history. 

            Minne (water) HaHa ( laughing)


Minnehaha Park is on the banks of the Mississippi, and about a hundred years before Columbus undertook his voyage, chaos and warfare reigned among the tribes. Hiawatha began as a solitary warrior, living in isolation until called to promote peace among the tribes of the Iroquois. Hiawatha became the founder of the Five Nations of the Iroquois, and his internal peacekeeping measures helped the Five Nations grow and prosper.



As we continued through the woods we could hear the rushing of water and smell the rankness of the forest. With the falls dropping from 50 feet high, down into a rushing river, white foam formed. Walking close to the river, my friend looked up and then shouted “look, there he is. . . Hiawatha!”  We both laughed and it was here she told me the legend of this native American man and wife.


Recalling the song I sang as a Girls-scout, I now knew of it origin.

“By the shore of gitche gumee By the shining big-sea-water At the doorway of the wigwam In the early summer morning
Hiawatha stood and waited All the air was full of freshness All the earth was bright and joyous And before him through the sunshine”


This is the legend of Hiawatha and Minnehaha.

Long, long, ago, in the days that are now forgotten,  West Wind wooed a lovely Indian maiden, but soon cruelly and faithless,  he deserted her and she died of grief, leaving her baby son Hiawatha, to the care of his grandmother, old Nokomis.

The story continues how Hiawatha met and married Minnehaha – the loveliest maiden of the Dacotahs ( a different tribe). Hiawatha believed with Minnehaha by his side she would help heal the strife between the tribes. Minnehaha rose up and took Hiawatha’s side, and said,” I will follow you, my husband.”

After a long cold winter, famine and fever came, robbing Hiawatha of his dearest treasure, his beautiful young wife.

Hiawatha dressed her in her richest garments and was laid to rest deep beneath the snow. And as Hiawatha watched the fire which was kindled at night on her grave, his heart was less heavy, for he felt their parting was not for long.

. . . as you can imagine the rest of this story Hiawatha also died.

Today – gone are the Indians – gone is the beautiful maiden – gone are the deer and gone are many trees.  Now, culture and civilization lives on. 



This turkey and a few others wander around

“The Old Soldiers Home” a few miles up the river.

AKA -Veterans home.

 Lake Minnetonka 05/08/12


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