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Native American Tribes of the Great Plains

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For the most part, the Mandan were a sedentary tribe that lived near the Missouri River. By the mid-18th century, they lived in nine villages in southern North Dakota. Culturally connected with their neighbors, the Arikara and the Hidatsa, the Mandan often intermarried and traded with the two tribes. The Mandan had certain distinctive cultural traits, including a myth of origin in which their ancestors climbed from beneath the earth on the roots of a grapevine. According to folklore, at one time the Mandan lived to the east and moved westward to the Missouri River.

Featured Fact: In 1804, Lewis and Clark visited the two Mandan villages located on opposite sides of the Knife River, a tributary of the Missouri River.

Photo source: Library of Congress

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