Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Old Wives Lake

Old wives lake seemed like any other lake in the province until I inquired about the name. Hearing the tale about the lake and how it got its name I did some research to find out if it was true and to my surprise, it is an accurate historic tale.

So if you don't know the tale let me share with you.....

A group of Cree were camping on the edge of lake and were discovered by a party of Blackfoot. The Cree who were with families could not get to safety before the Blackfoot returned with a larger party. Since they figured the Blackfoot would return in the morning to attack with a larger group the elderly Cree women offered to stay behind and be decoys as the younger people escaped during the night.

Sure enough the Blackfoot attacked in the morning and finding that only the elderly woman remained they killed the "Old Wives."  It is said today that the spirits of the women inhabit Old Wives Lake and you will here there laughter that mocks the Blackfoot.

I have drive past this lake many time but have not had the opportunity to stop by. I plan to visit in the future to see for myself if I can hear the laughter and sounds of the "old wives."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nutana Cemetery (Saskatoon)

Recently in the news they have been talking about Nutana, an area of Saskatoon and how the ground has been shifting. This is one of the oldest areas in Saskatoon which in turn means it has the oldest cemetery. A heritage cemetery that was started in 1903. 

The reason I find this cemetery interesting is its history. This cemetery is located on the edge of the river. Of course being on the edge of the river means that the ground shifts and the riverbank can collapse because of water erosion. Not only has this river bank collapsed 3 times but the coffins were floating down the river. Yes, it's true. I have spoken to people that remember the most recent collapse in 1984. The bank collapsed and the graves closest to the river fell into the river. Coffins floated down the river that day. With all this ground shifting again, could this happen again?

When something like this happens where there is so much disturbance to the graves, it makes me think that this would upset the spirits if any remained?

More about the Nutana Heritage Cemetery:

The City of Saskatoon began its life as a Temperance Colony, and was first settled in 1883.  The first recorded death occurred in 1884 when Robert Clark, who caught pneumonia while fighting a prairie fire, died. He was buried near the South Saskatchewan River. As the colony grew, this site became the colony's "unofficial" cemetery.
In 1888, a committee was formed to maintain the cemetery, and in 1889, "Nutana Cemetery" was officially recognized by the Provincial Government. In 1903, the Nutana Cemetery Company was formed, which took over the cemetery in 1905.
The City of Saskatoon took over the cemetery in 1910, after which the only burials that were allowed were those of people who already owned a plot, and members of the Nutana Cemetery Company and their relatives. The last burial took place in 1948.
While the Nutana Cemetery is in a beautiful, peaceful location overlooking the river, it has been subject to water erosion caused by the river. The hillside collapsed in 1904, 1969 and 1984, causing damage to many of the graves. Some had to be moved to other locations in the cemetery, or to Woodlawn Cemetery, which was established in 1906 on the west side of Saskatoon.
There were 162 known burials in the Nutana Cemetery between 1884 and 1948, however, only 144 of the graves have been positively identified due to inaccurate early records and grave markers that have disappeared. Of the 41 burials that are known to have taken place between 1889 and 1903, only 29 are registered in the cemetery records. Information regarding the remaining burials comes from resources such as the Saskatoon Phoenix.
It is obvious just how difficult life on the prairies was for the pioneers. Of the 144 identified graves at the Nutana Cemetery, at least 51 are babies, and 14 are children under 16 years of age.