This is the land of the Chippewa Indians and the legendary Hiawatha. Indian villages existed along the banks of the river, and Indians were living here when the first white men came to this region in the 1600's. The Indians named the river for the flat rocks over which it runs. In The Song of Hiawatha, Longfellow described how Hiawatha "crossed the rushing Esconaba" in pursuit of Mudjekeewis, whom he slew to avenge the death of his mother. The last Indian lands in the upper Peninsula were ceded to the United States in 1842. This closed an era that began about 10,000 years ago.