Manataka American Indian Council
The Spirit Lake Sea Monster
Otherwise know as the Devils Lake Sea Monster
Many, many moons ago, it seems, rumors had circulated among the Native Americans about a huge sea monster that had wiped out a whole army of Native Americans.
After his appearance, the water in Devils Lake had become so polluted that all the fish disappeared. The native Americans became so uneasy about the whole matter that Little Shell, Chief of our tribe, sent Ke-ask-ke (Big Liar), our medicine man and inventor, to investigate.
Ke-ask-ke found a band of Sioux Native Americans living at the lake. The old Sioux medicine man related this strange story of how there had appeared to them Owanda, the Seer.
It seems the Sioux had just completed a bloody battle, and victorious, had driven the Chippewa's to the Canadian border.
The Sioux had planned another attack on the Chippewas to drive them beyond the border, when there appeared to them the Great Spirit Man, Owanda the Seer, with the warning that if they did, a huge monster would come out of the lake and swallow them up.
They did not heed this warning. The Chief of the Sioux warriors ordered the strongest men to dress in full war regalia.
Drums began beating. The native Americans began howling, Ki-ya-ya, Ki-ya-ya. Bows, arrows and hatchets flew. Oh! what a fierce people.
Native American women also danced in a circle. Even young boys were dressed in full war clothing, dancing.
But just as they were ready to go on the warpath, they saw the water rise and boil. The earth seemed to tremble from under their feet. A large ugly monster came out of the water, his saucer like eyes flashed like a copper fire. The Sioux became terrified. Never in their lives had they seen such an animal. He had short legs, a short chubby neck and a large head.
He made for the Sioux. They fought for their lives, but the demon was too powerful. One by one he swallowed everyone in sight. However, a few got away to other Native American camps.
The medicine man, who had left upon the warning of the Spirit Man, returned a few days later with another band of Native Americans. That was the beginning of mysteries.
The lake water became salty, like that of the sea. The medicine man was baffled.
The fish disappeared as if by magic. Not even a dead fish could be found. Fish had been plentiful. In fact, the Native Americans, formerly, had taken them out in the spring time with a pitchfork and hauled them away in wagon loads.
The old Sioux medicine man sent for other tribal medicine men to help investigate. That was the reason our Chief Little Shell had sent Ke-ask-ke.
They prepared a seance, known as brains of Know-it-all. All night the Native Americans feasted, danced, sang and prayed.
At last Ma-che-gambe said he had the answer. He ordered the largest boat and with the medicine men set off on the lake. They came to an area of water which had suddenly turned to a stormy sea. A few yards off they saw large bubbles on the surface. The medicine men became panic stricken.
"Ma-che-gombe is crazy," they said, "to bring us face to face with the sea monster. We have no chance of overpowering him."
They wanted to cast him overboard. However, Ma-che-gambe convinced them they need not fear.
But the whirlpool pitched one of the medicine men overboard. When he hit the water he began spinning around, going deeper and deeper. Then he disappeared-"vanished to the grave of the sea monster," his companions thought.
This was enough. The medicine men started sharpening their knives. It was time to kill Ma-che-gombe.
"Do you know," Ma-che-gombe said, "that he who fell into the water is the Spirit Man of the Water?" "The Great Spirit will not suffer us loss of our brother. This problem is not a matter of one man, but one of concern to all the Native Americans welfare and it is our mission to solve their problem."
The medicine men for once agreed.
They rowed along the boiling hole until the Spirit Man who had fallen into the water appeared again.
He described what he had discovered. Deep in the water he said he found a hole where the water came out boiling. This was the mouth of a subterranean passage connecting with an underground river that ran across the country to the Gulf of Mexico.
They decided the monster came to Devils Lake from the sea through this underground river. And as he made his way into Devils Lake, the salt drew all the fish into this underground river and they were never able to get back into the lake.
Courtesy of the Devils Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
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