Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara
Traditional Culture
  Who's Who
Since Time Immemorial
All My Relations
Village Life & the Turning of the Seasons
Great River
Eagle Trapping
References Cited

  Contemporary Culture
  Arts and Artists
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  Relationship with U.S.
  Intertribal Trade
The Fur Trade
Story of a Medal
Making Treaties
The Shrinking Reservation
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Knife River > Culture >
Mark Mahto
Courtesy of Three Affiliated Tribes Administration

"I love to visit the graves of my departed relatives and friends at least once a year. I love to visit the spot where my father fasted to obtain the favor of the Great Spirit. This I cannot do when all the sacred spots are flooded.

"If there be any people in the United States who are entitled to sing "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty" it is the American Indian people. Yet, when I sing "America", I feel like crying because I don't see any liberty or justice."

-Mark Mahto

In 1946, in testimony against the Garrison Dam, tribal council member Mark Mahto conveyed the essence of life for the people at the great bend of the Missouri River, and their anguish at, once again, having to relinquish the land that sustains them:

Sakakawea Lake at the Little Missouri
North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Mr. Mahto's words encapsulate the feelings of many people of the Ft. Berthold Reservation. He was a full-blooded Mandan born in 1888. In these pages you will be introduced to the world of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people. You'll learn about the lifeways before the coming of Europeans and about the lasting qualities that characterize these people of the Middle Missouri area within the topics included under Culture. Slow down, open your heart, and learn about family life and the life of all things as the seasons go round; about trade and travel; and learn about spiritual life -- told through the stories that hold the culture together.

The many changes that accompanied the arrival of traders and trappers are included within the section called U.S. Think about the story from the point of view of these Missouri River people. How did they see their lives change after the arrival of traders, missionaries, treaty commissioners and agents, settlers, and the American military? Despite the devastation brought by these various groups, whether intentionally or due to uncontrollable circumstances, the Mandan-Hidatsa and Arikara people have survived and will continue to do so. The stories told here will help you understand a very different perspective on history and culture from the one taught in schools.

Contemporary culture, including artists, education, and issues of sovereignty are included with the section called Native American.