Legend of Standing Rock
by Marie L. McLaughlin
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,
At noon her husband
halted the line. "Go back to your sister-in-law," he said
to his two brothers. "Tell her to come 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 a carrying net. Pony and travois were both
beautifully painted and decorated with streamers and colors. The stone
was thought "waken" (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 back 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.