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The Legend of Minnehaha

Let me start by saying this story mad me so so mad growing up. My younger cousins would say "Minnehaha" ALL the time. And, I wanted to throat punch them. Then, my grandma would point it out to me because of course she thought it was hilarious. I really never did. And, I didn't think all these years later I would be writing about it on my blog. But, here we are. So, here's to you Brandon, Larissa, Trevor, and of course my favorite Grandma Newland (who I miss more than words).

Minnehaha is a fictional native American woman. Her life comes to a tragic end. She inspires many works of art and even works of live art.

In the Song of Hiawatha is the love story of the hero and Minnehaha. Minnehaha means "laughing water" or waterfall. Hiawatha proposes marriage to Minnehaha out of his love and as a way to seal peace between two rival tribes.

Famine and fever comes over Hiawatha's people. And, it does not spare Minnehaha. While Hiawatha is out hunting to provide for his people Minnehaha sings her dying song.

Hiawatha's grandmother, Nokomis, pleads with Minnehaha to fight the sickness. Minnehaha starts getting feverish visions of her homeland and her people. She finally sees the spirit of death. Minnehaha is said to have died with her loves name on her lips.

Since this happened, there have been ships named after her, and they have crashed. Actually, it crashed more than one time. Could this be a coincidence? Or, is the name Minnehaha cursed?

Composed by Mary Montgomery Koppel (b. 1982)

In the wigwam with Nokomis, With those gloomy guests that watched her, With the Famine and the Fever, She was lying, the Beloved, She, the dying Minnehaha. “Hark!” she said; “I hear a rushing, Hear a roaring and a rushing, Hear the Falls of Minnehaha Calling to me from a distance!” “No, my child!” said old Nokomis, “‘T is the night-wind in the pine-trees!” “Look!” she said; “I see my father Standing lonely at his doorway, Beckoning to me from his wigwam In the land of the Dacotahs!” “No, my child!” said old Nokomis. “‘T is the smoke, that waves and beckons!” “Ah!” said she, “the eyes of Pauguk Glare upon me in the darkness, I can feel his icy fingers Clasping mine amid the darkness! Hiawatha! Hiawatha!” And the desolate Hiawatha, Far away amid the forest, Miles away among the mountains, Heard that sudden cry of anguish, Heard the voice of Minnehaha Calling to him in the darkness, “Hiawatha! Hiawatha!” Over snow-fields waste and pathless, Under snow-encumbered branches, Homeward hurried Hiawatha, Empty-handed, heavy-hearted, Heard Nokomis moaning, wailing: “Wahonowin! Wahonowin! Would that I had perished for you, Would that I were dead as you are! Wahonowin! Wahonowin!”

But, could this "fictional" woman start the legend that has expanded into a haunted landmark in good ole, Ionia Michigan? I have always heard that this Park/Cemetery is incredibly haunted.

A Twist...A Turn....

One record says that Minnehaha was really a woman name Minnie Haas. This was legit news to me. This includes tales of bleeding statues and ghosts that have been seen of this little old lady. Little old dead lady? I don't know..

It is even said that you do NOT go into Highland Graveyard at night. If the sun ain't up, you don't go in. PERIOD. I don't know if I really believe that. But, it could be haunted with the civil war dudes getting disturbed and who knows what else.

More on Minnie Haas

Minnie was born in Ober Moerlen, Hessen, Dasenstadt, Germany. She came to the US with her parents when she was 3 years old.

She died in her home at the ripe old age of 67 due to pneumonia.,

I am not going to lie. There is absolutely NOTHING to say she is the reason for haunting Highland Cemetery. I personally believe this is a misconception because of her name. Minnie is short for Wilhelmenia. And, I can really see it being an honest mistake.

But, dang way to go blaming some nice German lady for haunting a whole dang cemetery.

Some Extras

The crypt of Minnehaha is located in Highland Park Cemetery in Ionia Michigan.

This cemetery houses a tribute to the fallen civil war soldiers. Hidden crypts, and even huge mausoleums. It's really a spook-fest, and a fun place to explore.

Also while I was doing research, I found this question on Yahoo! Answers and I was a little floored? Maybe?

So this is where I will leave it. Highland Cemetery is haunted, don't know why but it is creepy as hell. As far as Minnehaha goes, who knows what the real story goes. But, it sure is interesting!


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