The Sycamore Tree and the Indian Legend of Notre Dame University

My friend, Suzanne dropped me a most interesting note.  She attended Notre Dame University in the early 1960s and developed a special relationship with a unique tree.

Suzanne oak 1963

Recently she went back to visit.

“While in the area in 2010, I took a sentimental journey to my other alma mater, Notre Dame University, including a visit to the sycamore tree where I often sat 48 and 47 years ago to read beside the lake on campus. The intersection of branches that formed my perch has grown as high as I am tall.  Its branches form an open hand stretched upward. Estimated to be about 200 years old, it is said to mark the spot where an innocent Potawatomi who lived near the lake was murdered for a crime committed by another; and, according to tradition, the tree represents the hand of God, who offers protection and proclaims, “Vengeance is mine.”

Suzanne Oak 2010

Thank you Suzanne, for providing your story, sharing your photos and for the links below to the rest of the story….

Notre Dame

On the Notre Dame University campus in South Bend, Indiana, stands a large Sycamore tree.  Legend has it that this Sycamore sprung from the place on the ground where the blood of an Indian was spilled.

Dorothy Corson spent quite a bit of time and effort researching the early Native Americans in the region and the relationships between the early Potawatomi and Miami Indians, pre-removal, and whites, both settlers and missionaries, associated with what would eventually become Notre Dame.

Is the legend true?  It might be.  Read what Dorothy has to say…

Please visit this link for additional chapters in the book, “A Cave of Candles.”

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Miami, Potawatomi. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Sycamore Tree and the Indian Legend of Notre Dame University

  1. How wonderful. I love Sycamores, and this is a great story. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. jamesherter says:

    It’s officially the University of Notre Dame. There is a Notre Dame College in Euclid, Ohio or Notre Dame de Namue University in Belmont, CA. And the University of Notre Dame didn’t even have co-ed classes with St. Mary’s College accross US31 till ’65.

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