This summer and fall, experience authentic Native American culture and history in North Dakota

Here are some of the best ways to experience Native American culture by North Dakota:


The Algonquin word “pau wau” was the Native American word that some early Europeans associated with dancing. The word originally meant “medicine man”, but came to be accepted by Europeans to refer to dancing and gatherings, later spelled “pow-wow”.

Celebrations often have religious significance, but are also a time when people gather, sing, dance, feast, pray, renew old friendships and make new ones. These celebrations are still an important part of life for many Native Americans.

Visitors to today’s powwows will experience a multi-day festival centered around performances of traditional song and dance, traditional foods (and some “county fair” favorites), and vendors. of arts and crafts. A list of powwows held by the various tribal nations of North Dakota can be found here.


The North Dakota State Heritage Center and Museum on the grounds of the State Capitol Building in Bismarck offers visitors an interactive and informative look at Native American history and culture in the state. It has one of the largest collections of Plains Indian artifacts in the country, second only to the Smithsonian. A display to note is the Native American Hall of Honor, a gallery of prominent North Dakota Native Americans and a diorama of Double Ditch Indian Village.

You can then head north of the city to see the actual remains of Double Ditch Indian Village located on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, along with several other Native American villages. The visible depressions are all that remains of the large mandan earth village. Interpretive panels help visitors understand the history of this fascinating village.

Other historic villages that offer an authentic look at how Native Americans lived include Chief Looking’s Village in Bismarck offering captivating views of the Missouri River, Huff Indian Village to Huff and Sitting Bull Visitor Center, a tribute to the famous Lakota chief to Fort Yates.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is located on the banks of the Missouri River, just south of mandan, by Bismarck sister city. The history of the park dates back over 300 years and includes On-A-Slant Indian Village, once home to a thriving Mandan Native American population in the mid-1600s who lived in land lodges along the river. Several reconstructed lodges can be visited and offer an idea of ​​the daily life of the mandan people.

Explorers Lewis and Clark traveled along the Missouri River in North Dakotaand many of their interactions with Native Americans in North Dakota have become key elements in the history of United States. Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site at Stanton housed Sakakawea before she joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The village of Knife River was last occupied in 1845 by the Hidatsa and mandanand the National Historic Site is home to a beautiful state-of-the-art museum and interpretive center dedicated to preserving their culture.


Five Sovereign First Nations share geography with North Dakota and have deep ties to the plains. Honor and celebrate their culture and modern life at some of these sites:

The mandanHidatsa and Arikara Nation exploit the 4 Bears Casino and Lodge overlooking Lake Sakakawea, as well as a new MHA Interpretation Center in New city which houses a collection of artifacts and art, as well as earthen pavilions and teepees that can be visited.

All Standing Rock Native American National Scenic Drive is within the limits of Standing Rock Sioux Tribeis the earth. Drive all or part of the 350-mile route, which parallels the Missouri River and follows a Lewis and Clark path, with many historically significant sites along the way, including the final resting places of Sitting Bull and Sakakawea .

The Spirit Lake Nation includes several different nations of Lakota/Dakota peoples, many of whom live on the south shore of Devils Lake near Fort Totten. The Fort Totten State Historic Site offers visitors insight into the history of the region and the tribe, and the Spirit Lake Casino and Resort which overlooks Devils Lake is one of the main attractions of the region.

North Dakota first community, pembinawas built by the Chippewa, the descendants of Chippewa (or Cree) and French Canadians (called Métis), who are all part of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa which is centered in the city of Belcourt near the Canadian border. The Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center preserves the Chippewa, Cree and Métis culture of the region, and the Turtle Mountain Scenic Drive offers a route through the beautiful landscape.

The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe is centered around the Lake Traverse Tribal Lands which stretch across the border with South Dakota in extreme southeastern North Dakota. The tribe operates the Dakota Winds Golf Course and the Dakota Magic Casinoboth on the North Dakota side of tribal land.

To learn more about Native American experiences in North Dakotavisit

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SOURCE North Dakota Division of Tourism

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