Kaministiquia River, kakabeka Falls, Ontario, waterfall, travel, adventure, hiking, nature, wanderlust, legend, sacrifice

Relive The Legend of Love & Sacrifice, Kakabeka Falls

At 40m high Kakabeka Falls ranks the second largest waterfall in Ontario.  A historic route of The Voyageurs, the Kaministiquia River has been carving a path through the Canadian Shield for centuries, creating this beautiful waterfall and revealing million-year-old fossils.  And as much as the river may have grown, meandered and shared, it is the Ojibwa First Nation legend regarding this waterfall that has tourists remembering this location long after they’ve moved on.

Kaministiquia River, kakabeka Falls, Ontario, waterfall, travel, adventure, hiking, nature, wanderlust, legend, sacrifice

It was during an invasion by the neighbouring Sioux that Greenmantle, the 17-year-old daughter of Chief Ogama Eagle of the Ojibwa, was kidnapped and held captive for months at Dog mountain.  Using Greenmantle’s knowledge of the river the Sioux devised a surprise attack on the unsuspecting Ojibwa.  Forced by her captors, Greenmantle led the Sioux towards the Ojibwa camp and subsequent waterfall.  And as complicit as she may have appeared to the Sioux, Greenmantle had a plan of her own.

Kaministiquia River, kakabeka Falls, Ontario, waterfall, travel, adventure, hiking, nature, wanderlust, legend, sacrifice

As the waters turned violent the girl skillfully took the lead causing her enemy to give chase to keep up with her.  At the last possible second, Greenmantle guided her canoe towards the west bank of the whirlpool at the precipice of the falls.  Startled by her unexpected action, the Sioux were caught off guard and as such were drawn into the swirling rapids and swept over the waterfall.

A triumphant result for a girl protecting her people, there is a division of how this legend ends.  The “Hollywood” version would have you believe Greenmantle expertly maneuvered her canoe to the bank of the river.  Having narrowly escaped the same fate as the Sioux, she fled to alert the Ojibwa of the imminent threat.  Being forewarned her people were able to fend off the remaining Sioux forces who had managed to avoid the falls.

Kaministiquia River, kakabeka Falls, Ontario, waterfall, travel, adventure, hiking, nature, wanderlust, legend, sacrifice

The other ending claims that Greenmantle freely gave of her own life when she purposely leads the Sioux to their deaths in an attempt to save the Ojibwa.

Regardless of which ending you prefer, it is said her spirit can be seen as a rainbow hovering in the mist of the waterfall.  And if you listen intently to the roaring waters below, you can hear the cries of the Sioux that perished.

Kaministiquia River, kakabeka Falls, Ontario, waterfall, travel, adventure, hiking, nature, wanderlust, legend, sacrifice

The Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park is located at the north end of the town of the same name.  For a small fee, you can walk the boardwalk that meanders along both sides of the river, falls and canyon below.  Enjoy the park year round whether it be walking the nature trails, camping, swimming, cycling or cross-country skiing.

~True North Nomad

What is your favourite waterfall?  Does it have any spooky, courageous or incredible legend associated with it?  Tell us in the comments below.

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38 thoughts on “Relive The Legend of Love & Sacrifice, Kakabeka Falls

  1. Cool story! It reminds me of one of the stories in Paula Underwood’s “The Walking People.” In that story, the Iroquois were being told to leave by another tribe who had canoes and bow and arrows — which the Iroquois did not yet have. The Iroquois did not have a strict differentiation of appropriate roles for every task according to gender while their enemy did. So, the Iroquois sent some of their young braves to the other tribe whereupon they took upon themselves the “women’s tasks” which were generally menial. This disgusted the men in the other tribe and they said, “What are you doing wasting your time washing clothes? Come help me build this canoe. Come help me make these arrows. Come help me make this bow.” So, “reluctantly” the young men learned how to make canoes and weapons. They went back to their own tribe and taught these skills. At one point, they were to have a pitched battle between the two tribes. The Iroquois convinced the other tribe that the fight would be settled by having five of the bravest warriors in each tribe fight each other. The Iroquois sent out five women — which, of course, completely freaked out the other tribe. The Iroquois women prevailed and this freaked out the other tribe even worse.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Beautiful pictures! I’ve been to Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side, and would love to go back. I think I could stand and watch the falls and the river for hours. The pastor of the church I go to is from Niagara Falls and he used to work in the park.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Niagara is the only waterfall in Ontario that is larger than Kakabeka. There is something about waterfalls that mesmerize us isn’t there. Thanks for dropping by.


  3. Great story and pictures.

    The falls I remember the most is Multnomah Falls in Oregon. I had absolutely no other place to be or anything to have to do. I took a leisurely stroll/climb to the top and simply enjoyed the falls and the day.

    A remembered stop during my yearlong motor home traveling days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful falls photos, and I love the telling of the legend. My favorite falls near me is Snoqualmie Falls. I’m including a link to one telling of their legend of the falls https://www.snoqualmietribe.us/moon although I’ve heard more of it. The falls is revered by the Snoqualmie people as the source of all creation. Some of what’s missing in the link version is that the star child named all the creatures of the valley and gave the gift of language to the people when he came to earth at the falls. This occurrence is the root of what became their tribal culture. Such a beautiful tradition, I think. I included the moon in our photo of Mt Si on our author’s site to honor this legend of the first residents of our valley. -Sheri J Kennedy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for sharing. I find these legends and their culture so fascinating. I’m going to go check out your link right now. Thanks again and I hope all is well. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

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