The Pottawattomi tribe, a large group of Native Americans known as the "Fire Nation," once roamed the prairies of southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri. According to legend, two other tribes joined the Pottawattomi to form a loose confederacy known as "Three Fires." It is believed the three tribes held a great council meeting to join forces for protection against invading tribes. Runners were sent to wandering Indian nations to tell of the great rendezvous. Smoke from three fires signaled the exact location. The fires were built atop the highest hills so smoke could be seen from any direction. One such point overlooked the valley now covered by the waters of Lake of Three Fires. Three fires were kept burning as long as the three tribes joined together. If any of the fires went out it meant the tribes had left the area to continue on their own. Lake of Three Fires State Park was dedicated in 1935.
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