Friday, December 17, 2010

Etienne Brule, Superior's wild man

For a quick and dirty biography of the guy who "discovered" Lake Superior, check out this link from a Canadian historian. We mostly know Etienne Brule from the lovely rivers named after him: the Brule River in Judge Magney State Park (which disappears into the Devil's Kettle), and the Brule River east of Superior, where there is great canoeing and trout fishing.

 Brule's journey to Lake Superior led all over the eastern seaboard, including the Ohio and Potomac rivers. Brule went totally wild, adopting the dress and language of the Hurons. He could not be kept under the control of Champlain. It turns out Brule was a renegade, and, eventually, the victim of cannibals.

Enjoy the quick read.

2 comments: said...

From much reading about Brule I have found that the Bois Brule is named for "Burnt Wood" which it was called by the Indians and the Ojibwa word for the river in their language was also Burnt Wood. There was a forest fire in that area in the early days which had destroyed all the pines and left black stumps. Also the color of the water has been suggested as the origin of the burnt wood name?
We shall never know? Brule was also the earliest explorer but he didn't keep a diary of his travels and doesn't get half the credit he deserves. Imagine coming to the Lake Superior Region in the early 1600's? It had to be incredible!

Anonymous said...

Some indians referred to their French friends as half white half
indian as they lived with the indians. They would call them Burnt Wood, half brown and half white. Bois Brule in French. There is no way to know if that is the reason for the name of the river.