Discovering Manitoba

The Legend of Brokenhead

A painting by artist Teresa Fox illustrating the legend of Brokenhead River, reprinted courtesy of Teresa Fox. tfox@mts.net.

The Brokenhead River flows through the Brokenhead Reserve, and crosses Hwy 12 and Hwy 44 near Beausejour. The Brokenhead Reserve was the home reserve of legendary World War II hero, Tommy Prince, whose bravery is reflected in the Legend of the Brokenhead told below by the people of this river land, the Brokenhead Ojibway nation.

“Long ago, the native people of our past moved around. It was autumn and our people were searching for a new area in which to live.

They travelled until they arrived at the mouth of a river where they set up their tipis.

The Creator would soon blanket the ground with snow so our people began preparing for the long winter.

The forest was plentiful and provided the tribe with fresh food. The men fished and hunted. The women picked berries and tanned hides.

One night our people heard a loud splash and they saw a huge shape rising out of the water. It had a great head with horns and hair. It looked like the mighty giant bull buffalo.

A brave warrior picked up his bow and arrow. He ran to the edge of the water, took aim and let his arrow fly.

The arrow struck the monster’s forehead with such force that its head split in two and splashed back into the water. It was never to be seen again. And since that time, the river has been called the Brokenhead River.”

Reprinted with permission from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation.

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