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Culture Description

The Hidatsa are a Siouan-speaking people who, at the time of contact, were settled in three independent villages near the mouth of the Knife River in North Dakota. They subsisted on horticulture and on hunting, which occasionally involved lengthy expeditions in pursuit of bison. A matrilineal society in which status was gained through age-grade societies and acquisition of medicine bundles, the Hidatsa were (and remain) governed by a tribal council. Pressured by depopulation from epidemics, militarily-dominant nomadic Plains tribes, and the collapse of the bison herds and the fur trade, during the late nineteenth century they settled on the Fort Berthold Reservation along with the closely-related Mandan and the Arikara, adopting commercial farming and ranching alongside traditional subsistence horticulture supplemented by hunting.


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North America --Plains and Plateau


United States

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