Native American dancers at Earthlodge Village

Immerse Yourself in North's Dakota Cultural History

Swiss painter Karl Bodmer was the first artist to go into painstaking detail to accurately capture Native American culture in North Dakota. In the early 1830s, Bodmer painted 81 aquatints, the prints of which can be seen today at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn. The center’s Bergquist Gallery displays the prints on a rotation, with no fewer than nine in the gallery at any one time and others displayed throughout the center.

Other museums dedicated to the art, history and culture of Native American tribes in North Dakota can be found in BelcourtNew TownFort Yates and Stanton.

The cowboy is another prominent figure in North Dakota culture and the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora seamlessly blends the history of ranching, rodeo and Native American photos, displays and videos to bring the cowboy to life.

Scandinavia continues to influence our culture, with recent census data showing that 30% of North Dakotans trace their ancestry to Norway. This culture is on display and celebrated at the Scandinavian Heritage Museum in Minot, which pays homage to the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

The German-Russia culture is kept alive at the Welk Homestead in Strasburg, birthplace of famous “Champagne Music Maker” Lawrence Welk. A generation grew up listening to the legendary bandleader, whose musical skills were honed at the homestead that is preserved as a cultural treasure.

The influence of Ukrainians, whose ancestors settled in the Dickinson area, can still be seen today. Learn more about their colorful Easter Egg art and dance at the Ukrainian Cultural Institute. Meanwhile, in Mountain, the annual Deuce of August celebration is dedicated to North Dakotans of Icelandic Heritage,

The North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum in Bismarck has among its collection a picture of Sitting Bull done by Catherine Weldon, as depicted in the movie “Woman Walks Ahead.” The museum is a one-stop source for the arts, culture and history of North Dakota.

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