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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Learning about Mandan Indians

Dear Family and Friends,

To my surprise, there is lots of history in Bismark, ND and a lot to see and do here.

Unfortunately, for us, we are just a few days too early to do some of the things, like take a ride on the riverboat.  The riverboat, like many attractions, opens on Memorial day.

However, we have filled our time here sightseeing and learning a lot about the history of this area.

We spent many hours at the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, which is located in Mandan, across the river from Bismark.

We learned about the native people who were here first, the Mandan Indians.  These Indians were a very peaceful people and had lived in this area for over two hundred years.  They lived in earthen houses in On-a-Slant Village.  They hunted buffalo and farmed the fertile land along the Missouri river.

This is a scale model replica of what their village looked like.  The houses were round and covered with earth.  The houses surrounded a central community area.  The largest building was a medicine building.

Here is a recreated example of what their homes looked like.

Here is what the inside of a house looks like.  About 10 to 20 people shared one house.

As foreign fur traders came to the village they were welcomed.  Unfortunately, small pox was brought also and the community was devistated.  About two-thirds of the population died from the disease.

In 1804, Lewis and Clark built a fort to spend the winter near hear.  

It was during this winter that they met French Canadian fur trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau, who lived among these people, and they hired him to be an interpretur for their expedition.  Charbonneau's wife, Sacajawea, was a native women of the village.  

In the spring of 1805, Lewis, Clark, Charbonneau and Scajawea and their baby son, Jean Baptiste, along with the rest of the party, set out for territory no American had ever entered.

Here is a picture of the statue of Scajawea and her son, outside the Heritage Museum.

The dollar coin that we use so much in Ecuador has a picture of Scajawea and her son, Jean Baptiste engraved on one side.

Tomorrow, I will share what we learned about General Custer and his connection to this part of North Dakota.


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