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The Story of Mesaba
By Greg Brohman
An oral history
(Click here for video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWKapVEqbv8
Is a recording of a video segment that plays in the Hill Annex Mine State Park in Calumet MN. The video compilation is telling the history of the Hill Annex Mine and the Great Mesabi Iron Range.
The segment that we are looking at is titled, "In Search of a Giant".
I do not believe this title is representative of the story that is being told, I call it "The Story of Mesaba".





The Oral History in Text

[There was a Great Giant, his name was Mesaba, He walked a long way and as he walked his tracks filled with water and became lakes.
He found the treasures of this world and put them in one place and then grew tired and fell upon his treasures and slept, as he slept mosses and trees grew over him and became dirt and rocks.
He sleeps on and on, but someday he will awake and give to all mankind his treasures.
There will come the winter of no snow and Mesabi will arise, tear open the ground and leave Great Canyons, he will give to all mankind many good things and Red Man and White Man will live side by side].

The presentation continues, telling that in 1889 the citizens of the pioneer mining town of tower recorded a winter of no snow and that in 1890 the Merritt Brothers discovered iron ore (in the area that the Native Americans called the "Mesaba") at their Mountain of Iron. This iron range would then become known as the "Mesabi Iron Range").





The Oral History Explined

This Link will give more details(Click Here); http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/126merritt.php
I have listened to this story many times as I work as an Interpreter here at the Hill Annex Mine State Park where I once worked as a new miner back in 1974-75 before leaving to work 33 years at Hibbing Taconite Co. (A Magnetic Taconite Mine).
I am going to dissect this short historical story told by the Native Americans.
This story has been playing on the television via DVD and before that VCR for the past 40 years.

[ There was a Great Giant, his name was Mesaba(Mesabi),, He walked a long way and as he walked his tracks filled with water and became lakes].
This short paragraph is telling of something that had happened and because they did not find the evidence expected of similar events previous, it was believe a "Huge" Giant was walking around a particular area.
What was happening is the earth was trembling!
Stories were probably told or witnessed, the trembling of the ground when the great herds of Buffalo would stampede, so this trembling must have come from a like source.
What was "actually" happening here on this Great Iron Range?
To start with A " Biblical World View" can help understand this story.
The deposit of Iron Oxide now known as the Great Mesabi "was" Magnetite Fe3O4. Magnetite is found in solid iron bearing rock now know as Taconite coined by geologist Horace V. Winchell and was too hard and low grade to be mined, however, in this iron formation there are many small and Very large faults where oxygen and water has caused the Magnetite to Oxidize and change chemistry to Hematite Fe2O3 and GeothiteFe0(0H).
The chemical change in this iron ore formation caused the sedimentary rock(Silica) to be separated from the Iron Oxide resulting in the early discovered iron ore to be enriched.
This high grade iron oxide was easy to mine in those early days and could go from the mine to the Blast Furnace without any enrichment processes.
This is the "Treasures" we hear in the next segment of this story, and the active faults are the Giant.
The Giants footsteps, (because of the evidence left behind of the great herds, the abundance of lakes are the evidence of this Giant named Mesaba) who’s footprints formed into lakes comes from the local geography of the area where lakes are so plentiful, with over 1,000 in Itasca county alone. (present day Itasca Co.) (The entire Mesabi Iron range was at one time entirely in Itasca County before the division).

[He found the treasures of this world and put them in one place and then grew tired and fell upon his treasures and slept, as he slept mosses and trees grew over him and became dirt and rocks.
He sleeps on and on, but someday he will awake and give to all mankind his treasures].

The Mesabi iron is an Iron Oxide deposit that ranges (Disturbed) about 3 miles wide(present day and much wider but prohibitively deep underground) and 110 miles in length running east northeast would localize this to: "One Place", He grew tired and fell upon these treasures and slept would mean this trembling had stopped.
At this point we are going into visions into the future that are meaningless tales unless there is evidence that what is told comes to be and if that happens it can then be called Prophecy.
"As he slept mosses and trees grow over him and become dirt and rocks". This would come over generations of telling this story and visions into the future to attempt to explain the Over Burden that had to be removed to access the treasures.

[There will come the winter of no snow and Mesabi will arise, tear open the ground and leave Great Canyons, he will give all mankind many good things and Red Man and White Man will live side by side].
A vision of a winter without snow would be very unusual indeed but this prophecy is a powerful vision where the ground will be torn open and in that process there is much blasting still going on today and this would be "Mesaba" will arise! Tearing open the ground and leaving Great Canyons!
The good thing are un-limitless and the abundance and ease of access brought us from a frontier to a World Power in just a couple of generations and we do live side by side. I hope is this will continue to improve as we can all do better in living side by side!
Now back to "World View".
There are many world views and a sustainable world view should be able to answer some very important questions.
1 Origin, where did we(humans) come from?
2 Meaning, what is our purpose?
3 Morality, good-bad right and wrong?
4 Destiny, What happens when we die?
Some world views would say the Earth is Billion and Billions of years old, and that the faults that are found on the Mesabi Iron Range happened 3 or more Billion year ago, however, this story told over the generations by our Native American Brothers tells of them being witness to this fault activity, telling it in a story that captures the magnitude of what was happening in a way they could make some sense out of what they experienced and with visions that are revealing the future for not just themselves but for mankind!
In all World Views there are many supposition attached that may very well not be held by those of a contrary World View. These suppositions are evidence of a particular World view and should be freely discussed with others openly.
There are several spellings variations and even more opinions on what the word Mesaba, Messaba, Mesabi is or in some applications means. This historical paper written by Henry Djerlev (Click Here)ere; https://www.mininghistoryassociation.org/IronRange.htm
describes the word as meaning "Giant". Quote;[Mesabi is the Ojibwa word for "Giant"];Un-Quote.
The Oral story told above says the Giants "name" is Mesabe.
Henry was also employed at Hibbing Taconite Co. as our Geologist.
I closing I am convinced that the treasures that have been found are not by chance but evidence of a Creator that designed a new world that had the resources along with a World View to combat the fascist Countries in the past and very likely still to come.






Another Story is found on the Web that is very close to the story told in the Hill Annex video,
That story was from researching historical records and interviews with Ojibwa Elders.
The Author is not identified on this site and i will not include his name here unless given permition. Copy this address and past into your browser.
(Click Here)  https://www.mesabitrail.com/about/history/legend








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