Mazes and Marvels - The Carlsbad of America

HOT SPRINGS—INDIAN DIFFICULTIES—SONG OF HIAWATHA

Beautifully located within this renowned "Switzerland" is Hot Springs, the "Carlsbad of America." Here numerous springs pour forth their health-laden waters, for years the bone of contention between hostile Indian tribes, who regarded them as "fountains of perpetual youth." But the iron hand of progressive civilization wrested from the savage horde this El Dorado and substituted magnificent stone edifices for the Indian wigwam.

Not willingly did the red man yield his "happy hunting ground" to the white invader. The approach of winter brought no discomfort to the occupants of the skin-covered tepee, for the sharp-eyed aborigines observed the elk, bison, and deer basking amid the sunlit hilltops, and ejaculated: "Ugh, game heap plenty." Clashes between jealous tribes were not infrequent. Ere the white man molested that paradise, the Indian found those of his own race to be his own worst enemy. Pursuing game through the hills, boundaries were crossed, quarrels ensued, and tomahawks flashed.

Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha" bristles with allusions to the traditions of this Indian country:

"Should you ask me, whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions,
With the odors of the forest,
With the dew and damp of meadows,
With the curling smoke of wigwams,
With the rushing of great rivers,
With their frequent repetitions
And their wild reverberations.
As of thunder in the mountains?
I should answer, I should tell you,
From the forests and the prairies,
From the great lakes of the Northland,
From the land of the Ojibways,
From the land of the Dacotahs,
From the mountains, moors, and fenlands,
Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Feeds among the reeds and rushes
."

 

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

26611 US Highway 385
Hot Springs, SD 57747

Phone:

(605) 745-4600

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