News Release: Celebrating North Dakota’s Native American cultures

November is National Native American Heritage Month and a perfect time to learn more about the tribes that share geography with North Dakota. Their traditions and histories are as varied as those European immigrants who brought their own traditions with them during the settlement period. Click here to take the first step toward enriching your knowledge of the these vibrant cultures.

Start your journey of discovery at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum on the Capitol Grounds in Bismarck. Displays include the Native American Hall of Honors, a gallery of prominent North Dakota Native Americans and a diorama of Double Ditch Indian Village.

The Missouri River through North Dakota was important to North Dakota tribes, many of which made their homes along or near the river. Take your exploration to the next level by walking through the remains of Double Ditch Indian Village north of Bismarck, Chief Looking’s Village within Bismarck, On-A-Slant Village at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park south of Mandan, Huff Indian Village at Huff and Sitting Bull Visitor Center, a tribute to the famous Lakota chief, at Fort Yates.

Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site at Stanton played a key role in the success of Lewis and Clark. It was home to Sakakawea before she joined the Corps of Discovery. The Three Affiliated Tribes later settled in the New Town area where you will find the Earthlodge Village along the shore of Lake Sakakawea. Farther up the Missouri River, Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site was a center for peaceful trading between several tribes and trading companies.

Other tribes flourished away from the river. In Belcourt near the Canadian border, the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center preserves the Chippewa, Cree and Metis culture of the Turtle Mountain area. Find out more about the Spirit Lake Nation at Fort Totten State Historic Site in Fort Totten. The Lake Traverse Reservation of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribe extends into southeast North Dakota.

Many of these experiences are available throughout the winter. Visit their websites or call ahead for updated hours before visiting these sites. Follow your curiosity, not the crowds to learn more about the first North Dakotans.