Place Names - Lac qui Parle

Lac qui Parle

Lac qui Parle means "lake that talks" in French. The name arises from a Dakota legend. According to early French explorer Joseph Nicollet’s accounts, Lac qui Parle is translated Mde ie – lake talks. The tradition says that an old Dakota declared that the lake had spoken to him one time during the night.

Some other theories for the name include (1) echoes thrown back from the bordering bluffs or (2) the groaning sound ice makes when breaking up in the spring.

(1) lake (2) to speak (3) to indicate that it is extraordinary. So called because the Great Spirit spoke to a man there a long time ago. Present Day Lac qui Parle. (Durand)

This French name, meaning "the Lake that Talks," is translated from the Dakota name, Mde Iyedan (mde, lake; iye, speaks; dan, a diminutive suffix), applied to the adjacent lake, which is an expansion of the Minnesota River. The lake, nearly 10 miles long with a maximum width of 1 mile and a maximum depth of 12 feet, owes its existence to the deposition of alluvium from the Lac qui Parle River, which enters the Minnesota valley near the foot of the lake. It is very uncertain how it received the name. Its name most probably was suggested to the Dakota by echoes thrown back from its bordering bluffs. One tradition says from an echo on its shores, but it is doubtful if any such existed; another tradition is that when the Dakotas first came to the lake voices were heard, but they found no speakers; some think the word has changed its form." (Upham)

Watersheds | Blue Earth | Chippewa | Cottonwood | Hawk Creek | Lac qui Parle | Le Sueur | Pomme de Terre | Redwood | Watonwan | Yellow Medicine | Minnesota River |


Upham, Warren (1969) Minnesota Geographic Names. Minnesota Historical Society: St. Paul, MN
Durand, Paul (1994) Where the Waters Gather and the Rivers Meet: An Atlas of the Eastern Sioux. Prior Lake, MN
Minnesota Place Names


This page was last updated 4/15/11