Cold Lake Alberta

Legend Of Kinosoo

Community // Legend Of Kinosoo

The Dene nation has lived in this area for generations and the legend of the Kinosoo is part of its oral history. Before European contact there was no written Dene language, therefore legends were used to teach the youth about the land, its dangers, and how to thrive and prosper with the resources at hand. This is the Kinosoo legend:

A young brave regularly paddled around the perimeter of Cold Lake (“Luwe Chok Tuwe” in Dene) to visit a beautiful young girl who he hoped would one day be his wife. It is safer to travel around the perimeter of Cold Lake because the wind can rapidly whip up large waves which can swamp a small birch bark canoe. This particular evening was calm and the lake was like glass so the brave decided to take a short cut across French Bay. When he got to the middle of the Bay the water around him began to swirl. There was a thundering splash as the Kinosoo (big fish in Dene) roared up and bit the canoe in half. The brave desperately tried to beat off the Kinosoo with his paddle but soon disappeared below the waves. The young girl on the other side of Bay witnessed the struggle and waited in vain for her beloved to appear. The next morning a broken paddle and bits of canoe drifted ashore and the brave was never seen again. So from this day forward the Dene have avoided crossing large expanses of open water in their canoes.