Native American Sites Tour
Native American Sites Tour
Many tribes, histories, and languages have influenced today's North Dakota. Our individual tribes have distinct and different origins, histories and languages. Plains tribes are united by core beliefs and values that emanate from respect for the earth and an understanding of humankind's relationship with nature. The tribes which have had a great influence on today's North Dakota are the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara; the Yanktonai, Sisseton, Wahpeton, Hunkpapa and other Dakota/Lakota/Nakota (commonly known as the Sioux) tribes; and the Chippewa and Metis.
The Capital Gallery, owned and operated by the Lewis & Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, offers an eclectic blend of traditional and contemporary art in a historic downtown Bismarck building. Featuring artists from across the country, the gallery showcases paintings, sculptures and a variety of other art forms. All of the art is for sale, with proceeds benefitting the Foundation’s mission of “Celebrating History, Art, and Culture!”
Chief Looking’s Village Historic Site
The western view from this site looks over great expanses of Missouri and Heart River bottomland and the opposing river bluffs. From this point 225 years ago, a person could see four or five Mandan earthlodge villages, homes to 6,000 or 7,000 people. The site has a self-guided tour, where visitors can see the depressions of a number of earthloges and a fortification ditch.
Double Ditch Indian Village State Historic Site
Overlooking the Missouri River, this site contains the ruins of a large Mandan Indian earthlodge village inhabited from 1500 to 1780. The remains of earthlodges, refuse mounds, and surrounding fortification ditches, from which the site name is derived, are clearly visible. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On-site interpretation is open year-round.
The first "Thunderbird," a public art creation by the students of United Tribes Technical College, is part of the Missouri Valley Legacy Center in Keelboat Park. You'll find the second in the series of eagle sculptures and interpretation just south of that, along River Road, in Bismarck's Sertoma Park, near the entrance of Dakota Zoo. This impressive display of four different eagles on a ceramic circle is something you don't want to miss on your visit to Bismarck-Mandan. The third sculpture, "Reflections," faces the Missouri River along River Road at Steamboat Park. The reflective sphere surrounded by an eagle represents Mother Earth and reflects the area's natural beauty. The fourth sculpture, "Rising Eagle," is located in Pioneer Park and offers visitors a bench, within the sculpture, to rest and reflect. The fifth sculpture, "The Keeper," is located near shelter number nine in Sertoma Park.
Native Artists United
A small Native owned co-operative, they carry handmade arts and gifts from numerous indigenous peoples, as well as a small supply of raw materials and herbs/botanicals.
On-A-Slant Indian Village at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park
History comes to life at historic Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. Take a trip to 1875 and the home of General George and Libbie Custer on Cavalry Square, where their staff still entertains guests with stories of the time they spent in Dakota Territory.
The hills above Fort Abraham Lincoln provide a great view of the Missouri River Valley with blockhouses standing guard over both the fort and an ancient Mandan village. On-A-Slant Village, dating back to the 1500s, features six rebuilt earthlodges with exhibits and guided tours. The park's Visitor Center houses the nation's best display of Mandan artifacts and history, along with items of interest on Lewis and Clark and General Custer.
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
This site in Stanton was once home to several villages of Hidatsa and Mandan, with a total population of 3,000 to 5,000 people. These villages are where Lewis & Clark obtained the services of Sakakawea and her husband, Charbonneau. Visible remains of earthlodge dwellings, cache pits, fortification ditches and travois trails are in an extraordinarily fine state of preservation. A visitor center with museum exhibits, a short film and a furnished earthlodge provide interpretation on the site, and you can enjoy 14 miles of self-guided history trails.
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center & Fort Mandan
The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, located 38 miles north of Bismarck, tells the story of the Corps of Discovery’s expedition across the continent. Two miles west of the Interpretive Center you can take a step back in time by visiting the reconstructed and fully-furnished Fort Mandan, the winter home of the Lewis & Clark Expedition from 1804-05.
North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum
Learn the fascinating history of North Dakota through thousands of artifacts and specimens, high-tech displays, and interactive exhibits at North Dakota’s largest museum. See a full-scale T. rex replica, rare collections of Native American artifacts, a 1950s soda shop, and much more. Don't miss the exquisite 6 feet x 20 feet hand-painted mural of Double Ditch Indian Village in 1550.
Native American Hall of Honor located in the North Dakota Heritage Center
The Hall of Honor acknowledges Native Americans who have well represented their tribe and culture. The exhibit includes personal artifacts and short videos that share their remarkable histories.
The program is a partnership of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission, the State Historical Society of North Dakota and the State Historical Society Foundation. In an annual ceremony, inductees to the Hall of Honor are recognized for traditional and contemporary achievements in four categories: Arts and Culture, Athletics, Leadership and Military/Veterans. Inductees may be living or deceased. Since its inception in 2016, there have been 24 inductees to the Hall of Honor.
The twelve-foot-high bronze statue depicts Sakakawea looking westward, with her infant son, Jean Baptiste (Pomp), strapped on her back. Dedicated in 1910 on the grounds of the state capitol in Bismarck at the north entrance to the North Dakota Heritage Center. Since 2003, her replica has stood in the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington D.C. In selecting her as the subject of this statue, the state legislature chose to honor her as a "traveler and guide, a translator, a diplomat, and a wife and mother" and to recognize that "her indomitable spirit was a decided factor in the success of Lewis and Clark's...expedition."
The artist is Leonard Crunelle (1872–1944), who was born in France and emigrated to United States in 1882. His model for Sakakawea was her granddaughter, Mink Woman, from the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota.
United Tribes Art Gallery & United Tribes International Powwow at United Tribes Technical College
The United Tribes Art Gallery displays around 500 pieces of Native American art from various artists and tribes nationwide and in Canada. The United Tribes art collection began over 40 years ago and represents 70-100 different tribes. It is on the UTTC campus.
UTTC is a fully accredited college and nonprofit corporation owned and governed by the five Native Tribes located in North Dakota. UTTC is committed to providing quality post-secondary education and training to enhance knowledge, diversity, and leadership for all nations. Every year in September they host the UTTC International Powwow, and have been named one of the top 10 powwows, by the Indian Country Today Media Network and USA Today.