Sunday, March 22, 2009


A legend of Grand Lake, based on a tale in Oliver Toll's account of the Arapahoe Indian trip in 1914, concerns the Arapahoe name for it, Holy Lake or Spirit Lake: batan-naache.
One year the lake began to freeze over in December. The nights were bitterly cold, and soon the ice was thick enough to hold up many buffalo. Snow fell and covered the ice, but one little patch in the center of the lake remained open. In the snow the Indians could see many tracks of many buffalo. The tracks of one seemingly enormous one seemed to come from the open patch of water and return to there. From this came the Indian's belief that some supernatural buffalo must live in this lake, and from this superstition came the name Spirit Lake.
This story is from Mary Lyons Cairns' book, "Grand Lake In The Olden Days". I know this is true because Dal Lord and I were there! And after much reflection(and a couple of 'adult beverages') we've decided to change the name of Grand Lake to batan-naache. Please write your local congressman and ask them to officially change the name. It will be good for the economy by putting cartographers to work.
By the way, the white buffalo pictured is by one of my favorite artists....Bill Rabbit

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