Sica Hollow State Park, South Dakota - Part 1 - The Legend

Sica Hollow is a deep and dark place, filled with memories from long ago.  

During the Winter deer and antelope lived in the Hollows many ravines where they could find fresh water and salt. The great trees around the hollow would not let the cold northern winds pass. Here people made camps and found refuge waiting for the thaw .

As legend has it, one day a stranger came into the hollow from the west. His clothes were tattered and his bow was snapped. His name was Hand.

The women of the camp were very uneasy with him and wanted him gone. He ate a lot and was never thankful. He never smiled or told great tales,  but the men said he would stay. They thought he should not leave when Big Stone Lake to the east was still covered with ice. He would leave when it was warmer. 

After many months the seasons started to change.  Now the young braves could start to head out of the Hollow in search of game and to collect eggs from the birds coming from the south. During his months in the Hollow, Hand grew stronger and more sly. He started to taunt the young braves about their failures and started demonstrating sneakier ways to get prey. Hand could hide in the brush and lure animals to their death with his eyes.

During the evening fires, Hand snickered at the elders when they could not hear him. Hand started to turn the young braves against the elders and the ways of old. He made the young braves believe that making a great killing would bring the young maidens out of their mothers tipis and surrender to marriage. 

One early morning as the camp rested before starting their long journey; Hand had the young braves grab their war clubs and descended upon the camps. The people that woke, woke to the dead strewn around the hollow.  They grabbed their children, holding their mouths quiet, and ran into the tall grasses to hide.  Blood was running everywhere down the folds of the Hollow. The blood running out of the Hollow into river changed the entire river red. Today this river is called the Red River. 

Horror spread throughout the Hollow. Fear overcame the children when they saw the dripping scalps on the young braves belts while the women and maidens spit on the path they walked on for what they had done. 

Those that survived met with a medicine man to pray to Ate and ask what could be done to make up for what their sons had done? How could these crimes be cleansed from this Hollow?

The medicine man went back to his lodge and sat silently with his rattle and whistle burning sweetgrass. He was waiting for Thunderer to bring him a message. 

Hand and his young killers had built a giant bon fire in the middle of the camps that night. Off they went sporadically to kill and hoax maidens into  continuing their bloodline. 

It started to rain as Thunderer plunged into the camp with his dark wings and lightning flashing from his eyes with a message from Ate, their Father.  He had heard their prayers and would accept a sacrifice. 

For all Hand had done he was now cowering for getting the young braves to believe his ways would bring them glory and turn them into great chieftains; and, for turning them into young killers ravishing the camps. 

Hand bolted to get away but Thunderers wings beat him back into the flooding Hollow. Vines grabbed Hand by the ankles to hold him down as the water rose. Thunderer reached out with his talons and ripped out Hand's sight. The water filled his screaming mouth and ran into his gaping eyes for Thunderer had made sure Hand would never see the Happy Hunting Ground. 

The hollow continued to flood as a  girl  rushed and scraped her way up the hill sides. She had climbed up on top the highest hill as all land below flooded. She was the only one left. Her name was Fawn. Fawn had been the only one that had not been touched by man or the evil lead to her people by Hand. 

She cried out to the Great Spirit behind the Sun. She grieved for the evil that her brothers had done to his beautiful land. Ate had been good to them before this evil and now she asked for his kindness to make this land she stood on holy again. Begging him to send his love and make new people from this ground to worship him.  She ended her grievous cries singing out, "I am yours". 

Exhausted with grief she, fell to the ground and slept. The eye of Wakantanka saw her lying there and covered her up with a cloud.  Unknowingly to  Fawn the  cloud had given  a new life inside of her. She was not awoken from the birth for it was painless.  She was only awoken to the hunger of her new child.

The hollow was cleansed and good again.  Some day the bad name of Sica Hollow will be forgotten and replaced with its old name meaning good land, Mokoce Waste. 


Part 2 is going to be about Sica Hollow as it is today. Originally this was my plan but I got a little too deep into the legend.  Once I saw a source disappear I definitely wanted to finish out the legend instead of just a synopsis of the legend added to my main article. 

Below are sources for additional reading.