Interesting excerpt from City of Cohoes website
The Cohoes Falls
"When looking at the magnificence of the Cohoes Falls one is taken back to a time of grandeur once present in the time of the Iroquois Confederacy . There remains a remnant of their admiration for the Falls in an Indian legend, one of the Hiawatha tales, which is related thusly:
"Once long ago before the White Man came, the land of the trees and rivers was free to all Red Men. Life was good, the Great Spirit smiled, peace reigned in the Wilderness of the Savage. The braves hunted, the squaws labored, as was the way.
Once a young maiden, the beautiful daughter of a chief and the pride of the tribe, was working at the river's bank. She tired in the heat of the day and sought the shade of one bark riding at the water's edge. She sat, and quickly fell into a deep sleep from which no motion of the craft would wake her.
The canoe slipped from its mooring, was caught quickly by the river's swift current, and glided silently toward the white water at the brink of the Falls. The rapids and the tumbling water's roar woke the slumbering maiden. She screamed to no advantage, attempted unsuccessfully to right the bark's course and finally resigned herself to her fate, death at the Fall's edge. The mists covered her, the Falls claimed her, and no remains were ever found.
The Tribe mourned its loss and all Red Men marked this place, for a princess...daughter of a warrior, died there. All called the place Coho, the place of the Falling Canoe."
This legend of the Falls, however, does seem to have some basis for verification. In 1655, a famous Dutch explorer, Adriane Vander Donck, in his Description of New Netherlands retells the incident:
"In the area of the great falls of the Macques Kill (Mohawk River) which the Indians name the Cahoos Falls...An occurrence of this kind took place here in our time. An Indian whom I have known accompanied by his wife and child with sixty beaver skins descended the river in his canoe in the spring when the water runs rapid and the current is strongest... This Indian carelessly approached too near the Falls before he discovered the danger, and notwithstanding his utmost exertions to gain the land, his frail bark with all on board was swept over by the rapid current and down the Falls; his wife and child were killed, his bark shattered to pieces, his cargo of furs damaged. But his life was preserved. The Cohoes Falls is one of the Iroquois most sacred sites due to the Peacemaker's miraculous emergence after his plunge into the Falls."
(to read entire article go to: http://www.ci.cohoes.ny.us/313/Cohoes-Falls)
City of Cohoes | Saratoga County, New York
website and photos © Joyce Riedinger
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