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Native American Legends

The legend of Standing Rock

A Sioux Legend

A Dakota had married an Arikara woman, and by her had one child. By and by he took another wife.

The first wife was jealous and pouted. When time came for the village to break camp she refused to move from her place on the tent floor. The tent was taken down, but she sat on the ground with her babe on her back The rest of the camp with her husband went on.

At noon her husband halted the line. "Go back to your sister-in-law," he said to his two brothers. "Tell her to come on and we will await you here. But hasten, for I fear she may grow desperate and kill herself."

The two rode off and arrived at their former camping place in the evening. The woman still sat on the ground.

The elder spoke, "Sister-in-law, get up. We have come for you. The camp awaits you."

She did not answer, and he put out his hand and touched her head. She had turned to stone!

The two brothers lashed their ponies and came back to camp. They told their story, but were not believed.

"The woman has killed herself and my brothers will not tell me," said the husband.

However, the whole village broke camp and came back to the place where they had left the woman. Sure enough, she sat there still, a block of stone.

The Indians were greatly excited. They chose out a handsome pony, made a new travois and placed the stone in the carrying net. Pony and travois were both beautifully painted and decorated with streamers and colors.

The stone was thought "wakan" (holy), and was given a place of honor in the center of the camp. Whenever the camp moved the stone and travois were taken along. Thus the stone woman was carried for years, and finally brought to Standing Rock Agency, and now rests upon a brick pedestal in front of the agency office.

From this stone Standing Rock Agency derives its name.

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