Grand Lake
Arapaho Heebe3 Ni'ec, Beteen Ni'ec
Analysis Heebe3 Ni'ec, Beteen Ni'ec

 

Big Lake, Holy/Spirit Lake
Translation Big Lake, Holy/Spirit Lake

Notes:jAs the legend goes, there was a battle between a group of Cheyenne-Arapaho and Utes. To protect them from the enemy, the Utes put their women and children on rafts and floated them out into the middle of the lake. One of the sudden fierce storms that Grand Lake is notorious for came up and drowned all the women and children. Almost all the men were killed in battle. The Utes thereafter avoided this lake, calling it Spirit Lake because it is haunted by the spirits of the dead. On some summer mornings it is possible to see spirit-like vapors rising from the surface of the water. So goes the Ute story, but the Arapahos remember only a minor battle in which they surprised some Utes on Sagebrush Flats and drove them up Shadow Mountain by the lake, killing only a few. One of the Arapaho names for the lake is also Spirit or Holy Lake, but the explanation for it is different. According to the 1914 Arapahos, the lake had once nearly frozen over so that only a patch of water was left in the center. In the snow on the ice the Arapaho found many buffalo tracks. The tracks of one especially large buffalo seemed to come from and return to the center of the lake. The Arapaho concluded that an enormous supernatural buffalo lived in the lake, from which arises the name Spirit Lake. This lake is the largest natural lake in Colorado, about two miles long. Its present name comes from the old name of the Colorado River. Phiminster Proctor, a man who spent much time at the lake from 1875 to 1885, remembered another Indian name for it: Meteor Lake, because of the extraordinary number of meteors visible at certain times of the year. He gave tribute to the descriptive nature of Arapaho place names, saying, "The fool whites changed the name to Grand Lake."dfhgfsdghi}

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