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Prairie Island, Minnesota

Prairie Island, in northwestern Minnesota is Mdewakanton Dakota (Sioux) Indian Reservation land.

The landscape is natural Pine forests, deciduous woodlands, native tallgrass prairie, aspen parkland, sand dunes (remnants of Glacial Lake Agassiz), calcareous fens, bogs, marshes, large and small lakes and rivers make up the transition zone that offers safe haven for well over 275 species of birds. It carries many Dakota legends.

According to Jim Anderson of the Republican Eagle in Red Wing, Minnesota a Native American by the name of "Running Wolf" was sitting in his living room at 9:30 p.m. when his dogs began barking. Looking out the window, he saw a big "shadow or shape." He thought "somebody's messing with my car." He found two 18-inch-long human-looking footprints on his driveway. One became obscured in soft sand, but the other had five distinct toes. Indians call it Cee-ha-tonka, "The Big Man." The Big Man has been around for centuries according to Dwight Wells, a neighbor.

According to legend, the Big Man usually appears around Indian communities that are having problems — a sign is left behind after the appearance, a footprint, strong scent, tuft of hair, or large broken tree limbs.

Ralph Gray Wolf, a visiting Alaskan spiritual leader, says the Big Man helps troubled communities to get back in tune with nature and gain spiritual energy and inner strength. With the renewal comes the ability to face the difficulties.

Gray Wolf pointed out that scientists have tried to debunk the evidence of the existence of Big Man, but haven't been able to do so.

Story source: Maria Little Bear, Welch, Minnesota.