Bloody Falls are rapids located about 15 km above the mouth of the Coppermine River in the central Arctic. The falls were named by European explorer Samuel Hearne in 1771, after he witnessed the massacre of local Inuit by a group of Chipewyan travelling with his expedition. The Chipewyan leader was Matonabbee. In later times the place was used as an important summer fishing site by the Copper Inuit. It was also a stop on the route to the interior, where the Inuit got native copper and wood from the forests that begin 20 km upstream.
At Bloody Falls, archaeologists discovered traces of Inuit occupation dating to about 1500 AD. The area was also occupied previously by Palaeoeskimos around 1300 BC, and by Indian caribou hunters between roughly 500 BC and 500 AD. For more than 3000 years, this place probably marked a zone of tension between First Nations and Inuit cultures.
See also Prehistory.