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Healing Rock Skiatook, Ok – Smoke Signals

by | Unique Places, Native American

Legends are a critical link that connects us to our ancestors and are a positive force from our Creator. Are these true stories or based on actual events? I believe the legends of the Healing Rock speak for themselves.

The Main Player, Moonhead Wilson

Moonhead Wilson, a Caddo Indian, John Wilson, was a motivating character. As the legend goes, while fasting, Moonhead would go into a trance and “die” for three days before coming back to life; here are two stories related to Osage history:

  1. Moonhead went into a death-like stupor at the original site of the Healing Rock and was presumed dead until, before the eyes of the onlookers, he awakened.
  2. Moonhead lay injured near the rock and was brought back to health by an opossum which cleaned his wounds and brought him food.

John Wilson the Revealer of Peyote”

Old Peyote Religion

During the 1890s, the Hominy Creek Valley was frequently visited by (Moonhead), whose version of the peyote religion was combined with Christian symbols in his Moon Altar. This was acceptable to the Catholic Osages. The religion known as the Native American Church was accepted and is practiced today.

Is it possible that Moonhead’s experience was the revealing of the Healing Rock’s power?

According to legend, in the late 19th century, the Indians brought their sick ones there and leaned them against the rock to be healed. Witnesses told that in 1940 the practice of bringing sick Osages by stretcher continued.

Why is this not practiced today?
Has a contemporary society overshadowed the gifts from our great Creator, Wah-ka-ton, and we have miracles around us still but fail to practice our Ancestors’ pure, unconditional faith?

Old Legends Die or Fade Away

As has happened with many of our beautiful legends, the rock was rarely thought about for years. After the wagon train that passed near it was no longer violable, the “Teepee Rock” was all but forgotten, hidden among the trees and tall grasses. One can only imagine what miracles the rock could tell if it could only speak

The Coming Flood Skiatook Lake

healing rock

When the plans for Skiatook Lake were finalized, it became clear the rock would be covered by water. Descendents of Tallchief, led by Skiatook resident, Bill Kugee Supernaw, contacted the Corps of Engineers to ask that the stone is saved. The Skiatook Chamber of Commerce and The Skiatook Museum Board campaigned to get the rock moved above the planned lake waters.

In 1985, the Corps moved the rock to its present location 1/8 mile south of the project office on Skiatook Lake. The Corps leads from the project office to an access trail to this unique natural feature.

Archaeologists from the Corps of Engineers and The University of Tulsa examined the formation. Evidence obtained from digs and aerial photographs proved the rock was a natural formation and had been set in near perfect vertical alignment by natural erosion … ending any speculation that the rock was man-made. The rock stands 12 feet high, has a 17-foot base, and is 14 to 16 inches thick. It is triangular in shape with its jagged apex pointing upward to the heavens.


Sammie Harmon

Sammie Harmon



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