Native Amercicans

  • Buffalo were the main source of almost everything for the Native Americans. They provided food, clothing, skins for tepees, hair for blankets, and bones for tools. The Native Americans never killed more buffalo than they needed. Women were busy after a successful hunt. Blankets were made out of hair from the buffalo. The winter robes and moccasin soles were made from the furry hide. The women scraped skin off the buffalo for crafts. They made tepees from the skins. The Native Americans lived mostly on buffalo meat. They cut it and smoked the meat in a fire. When the buffalo moved, the Native Americans moved, too. Below is more information on different tribes including Sioux, Hidasta, Arikara, and Mandan.


  • Sioux

    The Sioux massacred hundreds of settlers in Minnesota in 1862. It should be noted that the Sioux were retaliating to years of poor treatment by the white settlers when this attack occurred. The Sioux began to sign treaties with the government of the U.S., giving them certain areas where they could live. Settlers were to stay out of the areas, but some did not obey the restrictions.The government took more land away from the Indians and gave it to the settlers. The Sioux hunted, grew crops such as tobacco, corn, beans, and squash. They traded furs, buffalo robes, and other goods.

    The Sioux were split up into seven major tribes, The Yankton, The Yankatonai, The Mdweakanton, The Whapeton, The Sissiten, Teton, and the Wahpekute. The Teton Sioux, living west of the Missouri River, were the largest Sioux branch and numbered more than half the entire tribe. There were seven tribal branches of the Teton Sioux.


  • Hidasta found high quality flint deposits along the Knife River and made flint tools and arrow heads. They traded the tools and arrow heads for other goods.Hidasta, Mandan, and the Arikara tribes received guns, kettles, axes, and other goods for trading. Unfortunately, they also received an illness known as small pox. Small pox almost wiped out the Mandan in 1837. Only 125 Native Americans survived out of 1,800 Mandans.The Hidasta and Arikara suffered as well. The Native Americans that did survive joined together in a community called Like-a-Fish-Hook, forming the Three Affiliated Tribes. They lived at Fort Berthold, a reservation in Northwest North Dakota.


  • Arikara The name of the Spanish tribe, Arikara, was originally given by the Mandan tribe. They had occupied villages farther up the Missouri, near the Mandan tribe.In 1836, just before the great smallpox epidemic, the Arikara tribes went to visit the Hidasta and Mandan tribes. They didn't suffer from smallpox as other villages did, and when the Mandan survivors abandoned their village at Fort Clark, Arikara tribes moved in. They built villages closer to Fort Berthold and finally, in 1862, built lodges beside those of the Hidasta and Mandan tribes in Like-a-Fishook village itself.


  • Mandan

    The Mandan was probaly the first tribe to reach North Dakota. Mandan were followed into North Dakota by the Hidatsa,and the Cheyenne. The Arikara came later into North Dakota. The four tribes of Hidatsa, Mandan, Arikara, and the Cheyenne are known as the Agriculture tribes. The Nomadic Tribes of North Dakota were the Sioux, Assiniboin, and the Chippewa.Fort Mandan was built on the banks of the Missouri River by the US Army, and is named after the Native Americans who befriended them, the Mandan Indians. Lewis and Clark supervised the building of the fort. Most of the party stayed for a long time with the Mandan before they traveled to Canada.

    When all of this was happening, Mandan, Hidasta, Arikara, and the Sioux tribes were occupying North Dakota. Lewis and Clark helped the Mandan fight against their enemies. The Mandan village's most important place was the ceremonial lodge. The Mandan had a buffalo dance to invoke good luck in the hunt and had a rain dance too.

    After the death of a member of the family, a Mandan would slash himself/herself and mourn for a year. A hero in the Mandan tribe was known as the Good Furred Robe. He instructed the Native Americans in almost everything they learned in skills. The scariest place in the Mandan village was the Holy Hill of the Mandan. The Sioux forced the Mandan to move north to the Bismark area, where the headquarters had been for so long.