You are here

Legend of Punished Woman's Lake


PIERRE, S.D. – North of the town of South Shore, alongside Highway 20, sits a lone lake.  Like other lakes and areas of the northeast region, its name derived from a Native American legend.  The historic marker at this site describes this legend, and how the lake got its name. 
In 1773, a band of Sioux Indians were camped along the shores of this lake.  Big Eagle was the bravest young warrior in the tribe, and had won the heart of the fairest maiden, We-Wa-Ke. 
Numerous attempts were made by Big Eagle to win the approval of We-Wa-Ke’s father.  He approached their lodge with gifts and a desire to have the maiden as his wife, however, was turned away by We-Wa-Ke’s father.  Instead, her father accepted the gifts of an elder, 60 year old chief, White Tail Wolf. 
While the tribe celebrated the union, We-Wa-Ke and Big Eagle fled the camp.  Their absence did not go unnoticed, and they were soon tracked down by the tribe and the old chief.  The young couple was retuned to the hill overlooking the lake, where they proceeded to declare their love for each other.  The old chief was so angered by this that he killed the young warrior with his knife and shot an arrow through the heart of the young maiden. 
The two lovers were buried side by side, and White Tail Wolf called upon the Evil Spirit to take them to the Land of Everlasting Sorrow.  But the Great Spirit heard his awful words and struck White Tail Wolf dead with a bolt of lightning from a cloudless sky. 
The tribe soon moved westward, but never forgot the sorrow that was left on the shores of this, Punished Woman's Lake.
The Marks of History series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight historic markers all across South Dakota.  Click on the special “Marks of History” link at to access the complete list of articles.
The Marks of History series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota, and Goal 4 to enhance history and arts as a tool for economic development and cultural tourism in South Dakota.  The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.

Note: The South Dakota Office of Tourism is not responsible for the text included on these markers.  Some of the language used at the time of production may not be appropriate by today’s standards.  Please view the markers at your own discretion.