Hazel Blake, Creation Story

Page 7 of 14

Lifeline

This Missouri River was pure water, from the beginning. Awati, that's the name of the river. They don't have a translation for Missouri. That's a white man's word, but the river is Awati. Awaga-nuxbaaga is Native American, it's an overall name for all Indians. According to what my grandparents say, the Hidatsa people came out of Devil's Lake. There were people down below and there was no more hunting. They had used all the deer or buffalo, and they started looking for food. And this one warrior was hunting, and he couldn't find any deer or buffalo, or anything. He was so tired and he laid down to rest, and he went to sleep.

When he woke up, he saw a hole in the sky, and there was a vine that went right up through the hole. So he climbed up, and when he climbed up, it was out of Devil's Lake. He looked around, and he seen all this buffalo and deer and everything, and this land was so rich. So he went back down and told them. So they started coming up through that vine, and they all come out of Devil's Lake, the Hidatsa people.

And there was this pregnant woman. Then she was trying to climb, but they said, "No, you wait. You wait until the last." And so they held her back. But everybody was coming and there was a whole bunch of people that came up to this area. And so, finally, that pregnant lady got mad, and she said "I'm going!"

And so she climbed that rope, and here she broke it, and that was the end of it. Nobody else could come up after that.

That's where the Hidatsa come from.