North Dakota extract from
John Reed Swanton's

The Indian Tribes of North America

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(North Dakota) Extract from

The Indian Tribes of North America

by John R. Swanton
Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 145—1953
[726 pages—Smithsonian Institution]
(pp. 273-278)

North Dakota

Arapaho. Certain traditions indicate that the Arapaho at one time lived in the Red River Valley in what is now Minnesota and North Dakota, but they had left before the historic period. (See Wyoming.)

Arikara. Signifying "horns," or "elk," and having reference to their ancient manner of wearing the hair with two pieces of bone standing up, one on each side of the crest; -ra is the plural suffix. Also called:

A da ka' da ho, Hidatsa name
Ah-pen-ope-say, or A-pan-to'-pse, Crow name
Corn eaters, given as their own name.
Ka'-nan-in, Arapaho name, meaning "people whose jaws break in pieces."
O-no'-ni-o, Cheyenne name.
Padani, Pani, applied to them by various tribes.
Ree, abbreviation of Arikara.
Sanish, "person," their own name, according to Gilmore (1927).
S'quies'tshi, Salish name.
Stâr-râh-he' [tstarahi], their own name, according to Lewis and Clark (1904-05).
Tanish, their own name, meaning "the people," according to Hayden (1862). Perhaps a misprint of Sanish.
Wa-zi'-ya-ta Pa-da'-nin, Yankton name, meaning "northern Pawnee."

Connections.—The Arikara belonged to the Caddoan linguistic stock and were a comparatively recent offshoot of the Skidi Pawnee.

Location.—In historic times they have occupied various points on the Missouri River between Cheyenne River, South Dakota, and Fort Berthold, North Dakota. (See also Montana and Nebraska.)

Subdivisions and Villages.— The Arikara are sometimes spoken of as a confederacy of smaller tribes each occupying its own village, and one account mentions 10 of these, while Gilmore (1927) furnishes the names of 12, including 4 of major importance under which the others were grouped. These were as follows:

Awahu, associated with which were Hokat and Scirihauk.
Hukawirat, with which were associated Warihka and Nakarik.
Tukatuk, with which were associated Tsininatak and Witauk.
Tukstanu, with which were associated Nakanusts and Nisapst.
Earlier sources give other names which do not agree with these:
Hosukhaunu, properly the name of a dance society.
Hosukhaunukarerihu, properly the name of a dance society.
Lohoocat, the name of a town in the time of Lewis and Clark.
History.—After parting from the Skidi in what is now Nebraska, the Arikara gradually pushed north to the Missouri River and on up that stream.

In 1770 when French traders opened relations with them they were a little below Cheyenne River. Lesser and Weltfish (1932) suggest that they may have been the Harahey or Arahey of whom Coronado was told rather than the Pawnee (q. v.) . Lewis and Clark found them, reduced considerably in numbers, between Grand and Cannonball Rivers. In 1823 they attacked the boats of an American trader, killing 13 men and wounding others, and in consequence of this trouble they abandoned their country and went to live with the Skidi on Loup River. Two years later they returned to the Missouri, and by 1851 they had pushed as far north as Heart River. Meantime wars with the Dakota and the smallpox had reduced them so much that they were glad to open friendly relations with two other tribes, similarly reduced, the Hidatsa and Mandan. In 1862 they moved to Fort Berthold. In 1880 the Fort Berthold Reservation was created for the three tribes, and the Arikara have ever since lived upon it, though they are now allotted land in severalty, and on the approval of the allotments, July 10, 1900, they became citizens of the United States.

Population.—Mooney (1928) estimates that in 1780 there were about 3,000 Arikara. In 1804 Lewis and Clark gave 2,600. In 1871 they numbered 1,660; in 1888 only 500; and in 1904, 380. The census of 1910 returned 444 of whom 425 were in North Dakota. In 1923 the United States Indian Office gave 426. The census of 1930 returned 420, and the United States Indian Office in 1937, 616.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Arikara are noted merely as the most northerly of the Caddoan tribes and from their probable influence in introducing a knowledge of agriculture to the people of the upper Missouri. Arickaree in Washington County Colo., perpetuates the name.

Assiniboin. In early days the Assiniboin were constantly coming across from Canada to fight and trade with the tribes of the upper Missouri, but they did not settle within the limits of North Dakota for any considerable period. (See Montana, and also Dakota under South Dakota.)

Cheyenne. When they left Minnesota the Cheyenne settled for a while on the Sheyenne fork of Red River after which they moved beyond the limits of the State of North Dakota. (See South Dakota.)

Chippewa. After they had obtained guns the Chippewa pushed westward as far as the Turtle Mountains which gave their name to a Chippewa band. There were 2,966 Chippewa in North Dakota in 1910. (See Minnesota.)

Dakota. While working their way west from Minnesota, bands of Dakota occupied at various times parts of the eastern, southern, and southwestern margins of North Dakota and a part of the Standing Rock Agency is within the limits of the State. In 1910 1,190 Dakota were making their homes on its soil. (See South Dakota.)

Hidatsa. Derived from the name of a former village and said, on somewhat doubtful authority, to signify "willows." Also called:

A-gutch-a-ninne-wug, Chippewa name, meaning "the settled people."
A-me-she', Crow name, meaning "people who live in earth houses."
Gi-aucth-in-in-e-wug, Chippewa name, meaning "men of the olden time."
Gros Ventres of the Missouri, traders' name, probably derived from the sign for them in the sign language.
Hewaktokto, Dakota name.
Minitari, meaning "they crossed the water," said to have been given to them by the Mandan, from the tradition of their first encounter with the tribe on the Missouri.
Wa-nuk'-e-ye'-na, Arapaho name, meaning "lodges planted together."
Wetitsaán, Arikara name.

Connections.—The Hidatsa belonged to the Siouan linguistic stock, their closest relations within it being the Crow.

Location.—They lived at various points on the Missouri between the Heart and Little Missouri Rivers. (See also Montana and Canada.)

Villages.—Lewis and Clark (1804-5) give the following three names:

Amahami or Mahaha, on the south bank of Knife River, formerly an independent but closely related tribe.
Amatiha, on the south bank of Knife River.
Hidatsa, on the north bank of Knife River.

The band names given by Morgan are rather those of social divisions.

History.—According to tradition, the Hidatsa formerly lived by a lake northeast of their later country, one sometimes identified with Devil's Lake. They moved from there to the mouth of Heart River, where they met and allied themselves with the Mandan, and from them they learned agriculture. As we have seen, Lewis and Clark found them on Knife River. In 1837 a terrible smallpox epidemic wasted them so completely that the survivors consolidated into one village which was moved in 1845 to the neighborhood of Fort Berthold, where the tribe has ever since continued to reside. They have now been allotted lands in severalty and are citizens of the United States.

Population.—Mooney (1928) estimates the Hidatsa and Amahami together as numbering 2,100 in 1780. Lewis and Clark give 600 warriors, or about 2,100 people. In 1905 they totaled 471, and the census of 1910 gives 547, a figure repeated by the United States Indian Office in 1923. In 1930, 528. were returned and in 1937, 731.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Hidatsa appear most prominently, along with the Mandan, in connection with the ascent of the Missouri by Lewis and Clark and later expeditions into the same region. The name of Minatare, Scotts Bluff County, Nebr., probably refers to this tribe.

Mandan. Probably a corruption of the Dakota word applied to them, Mawatani. Also called:
A-rach-bo-cu, Hidatsa name (Long, 1791).
As-a-ka-shi, Us-suc-car-shay. Crow name.
How-mox-tox-sow-es, Hidatsa name (?).
Kanit', Arikara name
Kwowahtewug, Ottawa name
Métutahanke, own name since 1837, after their old village.
Mo-no'-ni-o, Cheyenne name.
Numakaki, own name prior to 1837, meaning "men," "people."
U-ka'-she, Crow name, meaning "earth houses."

Connections.—The Mandan belonged to the Siouan linguistic stock. Their connections are with the Tutelo and Winnebago rather than the nearer Siouan tribes.

Location.—When known to the Whites, the Mandan were on the same part of the Missouri River as the Hidatsa, between Heart and Little Missouri Rivers. (See also South Dakota.)

Subdivisions and Villages.—The division names given by Morgan (1851) appear to have been those of their former villages and are as follows: Horatamumake, Matonumake, Seepoosha, Tunatsuka, Kitanemake, Estapa, and Neteahke. In 1804 Lewis and Clark found two villages in existence, Metutahanke and Ruptari, about 4 miles below the mouth of Knife River. They were divided socially into two moieties named like those of the Hidatsa, the Four-Clan Moiety and Three-Clan Moiety, and many of the clans constituting these bear village names. One of Dr. Lowie's (1917) informants gave the Prairie-chicken people, Young white-headed Eagle, People all in a bunch, and Crow people, as clans of the first Moiety; and the Maxi'`kina, Tami'sik, and Nu'pta as clans of the second. Another informant gave the following clans altogether: Si'pucka, Xtata'nu'make, Village above, Maxáhe, Tami'sik, Seven-different-kinds, Hilltop village, Scattered village, White-bellied mouse people, and Nuptare. Curtis (1907-9) and Maximilian (1843) give a Badger clan; Curtis, Red Butte and Charcoal clans; Maximilian, Bear and Cactus villages, perhaps intended for clans; and Morgan, Wolf, Good Knife, Eagle, and Flathead clans. Some of Lowie's informants substituted other names for Nu'pta, which latter is also the name of a village.

History.—When first visited by the Whites, the Mandan had distinct traditions of an eastern origin, and they may have come from the neighborhood of the Winnebago or from the Ohio country. Tradition also affirms that they first reached the Missouri at the mouth of White River, South Dakota, whence they moved to Moreau River and thence to Heart River, where the Whites found them. The first recorded visit to them was by Varendrye in 1738. The nine villages which they had in 1750 were merged into two by 1776 which were about 4 miles below the mouth of Knife River when Lewis and Clark visited them in 1804. In 1837 they were almost destroyed by smallpox, only 31 souls being left out of 1,600, according to one account. In 1845 some Mandan accompanied the Hidatsa to Fort Berthold, others followed at intervals, and the tribe has continued to reside there down to the present time, though lands are now allotted to them in severalty and they are citizens of the United States.

Population.—Mooney's (1928) estimate of Mandan population for 1780 is 3,600. In 1804 Lewis and Clark estimated there were 1,250, and in 1837, just before the great smallpox epidemic, there were supposed to be 1,600. In 1850 the total number was said to be 150, but in 1852 it had apparently increased to 385. In 1871 there were 450; in 1877, 420; in 1885, 410; and 1905, 249; while the census of 1910 returned 209, and the United States Indian Office Report of 1923, 273. The census of 1930 gives 271, and the Indian Office Report for 1937, 345.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Mandan attained wide notoriety among the Whites (1) from their intimate dealings with the early White explorers and traders in the upper Missouri region; (2) from the fact that their customs and ceremonies were made particular matters of record by Maximilian (1843), Catlin (1844), and other White visitors; (3) from the reputation these Indians acquired of an unusually light skin color and theories of Welsh or, at least European, origin based upon these characters; and (4) from the tragic decimation of the tribe by smallpox as above mentioned. The name has been adopted as that of a city in North Dakota, the capital of Morton County.