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Healing Rock Skiatook, Ok — Smoke Signals By Sammie

Date Published: September 21, 2017
The Heal­ing Rock in Ski­a­took
Sam­mie Har­mon
A direct descen­dant of Chief White­hair I. I write and research Osage his­to­ry.

Leg­ends are a very impor­tant 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 itself.

The Main Player Moonhead Wilson

Moon­head Wil­son, a Cad­do Indi­an, John Wil­son was a moti­vat­ing char­ac­ter.  As 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 up against the rock to be healed. Wit­ness­es told that in the 1940’s 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 the pure, uncon­di­tion­al faith of our Ances­tors?

Old Legends Die or Fade Away

As has hap­pened with so 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

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 rock 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. An access trail, built by the Corps, leads from the project office 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.
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My name is Sammie Dennison-Harmon and I am a member of the Osage Nation. I am a direct descendant of Chief Whitehair I. My fraternal and paternal grandmothers were Original Allottees on the Osage roll. My parents are Charles T. and Marguerite Pease Dennison. My home is in Cleveland, Oklahoma. I have four grown children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. I am retired from Webco Industries as a Travel Coordinator. I write and research Osage history.

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