LIFE ON THE LAND:
THE BIG BEAVER HOUSE LAKE PEOPLE
NOTE: This story was taken from Land Use Plan called “Continuity and Change”.
Stories of the People
Let me tell you how the Pipestone River got its name.
In the days when the animals could talk, Weesa-kay-jac began to hunger for the taste of beaver. He followed the Pipestone River to Big Beaver’s house. There Weesakayjac punched a hole in the dome of the lodge but Big Beaver escaped through his underwater tunnel. Big Beaver fled down the Pipestone River, chased by Weesakayjac. When he reached his dam, Big Beaver broke through, doubled back raced up the river. Weesakayjac flew into a rage when he saw the smashed dam. He spied Baby Beaver and in his rage he smashed in Baby Beaver’s head with a rock. Baby Beaver flew through the air, landing in a pool of blood. To this day the earth is red from the blood of Baby Beaver. The chase continued, up the Pipestone River, past Big Beaver’s smashed house. Finally, Weesekayak grabbed Big Beaver. In his fear, Big Beaver’s bowels loosened and made a giant pipe in the center of the river. Weesakayjac tried to boil Big Beaver in his pot but the pot tipped and Big Beaver escaped and Weesakayjac once again missed his dinner.
To this day you can still see Weesakayjac’s overturned pot, and Big Beaver’s pipe. They say if you are on the river at just the right time, you can see smoke coming from the pipe. And thanks to Big Beaver’s gift, people on the river have been making pipes from this rock since time immemorial. As you travel down the river you come across Big Beaver’s house and you can see where he stored his winter food supply and where his tunnel ends. You can also see the original community of the Big Beaver House Lake people, the gardens, the church, the old Hudson Bay store, the flower gardens gone wild. If you’re lucky or maybe just if you are interested, the people of Wunnumin Lake might show you where Baby Beaver spilled his blood, staining the earth red and giving Wunnumin Lake its name (wun-num-mun means red earth in Oji-Cree). You need no skill at all to see the broken dam that stretches across the lake in front of the community, nor to find the rock that Weesakayjac threw or his footsteps in the esker that is Big Beaver ‘s dam.