Mandan Indians

Geographic Location

The Mandan Indians lived along the Missouri River in western North Dakota. The Mandans were the only indians in this region until the mid 17th century.

Food, Clothing, Appearance

The Mandan Indians hunted buffalo and other game. They used wolf, buffalo and deer hide for clothes. Their diet consisted of buffalo meat, and deer meat. They also farmed the land, growing corn and beans for food. They also grew tobbacco.

Daily Routine

Neither the Mandans, the Arikaras, or the Hidatsa tribes had any concept of "peace" or "war." This was a problem for Lewis and Clark Mandans were always prepared to fight with other tribes, even though the Mandans were never the first to start a conflict. When the Corps of Discovery came, with tidings from the "Great White Father" to lay down thier weapons and stop fighting, the Mandans didn't understand this idea.

Myths, Rituals, Religion

In the center of a Mandan village was the center of politial, social, and ceremonial activity. A sacred cedar post stood in the center of the village, representing the "cultural hero."

Visions were important to the Mandans, as they were to many other indian tribes. The Mandans believed that visions could foretell the future and a man with particularly strong visions would become a shaman, in which case he could foretell the future.

Relationship with Lewis and Clark

The Mandans were receptive to the plan of the Corps to be at peace wht the Arakiras, though the peace did not last. The Mandans had a good relationship with the Corps of Discoverey throughout their stay. They kept the Corps fed in return for a constant stream of trade goods. When food was scarce, members of the Corps would go hunting with the Mandan for buffalo. The Mandans were taken with York, who was William Clark's slave. The Mandans had never seen a black man before.

Welsh Legend

It is said that Prince Madoc of Wales and a group of Welsh explorers were the first whites in north America. They are thought to have sailed from Wales in 1167, more than 300 years before Christopher Columbus.

Related Web Sites

Lewis and Clark information on PBS

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Copyright 1998, Nathan Park, All rights reserved
Silver Creek High School
Last revised: 03/02/98