North Dakota Eclectics


The Hidatsas and the Crows were once part of the same tribe. Tradition says that they quarreled over the division of a buffalo carcass, and that one part of the tribe left for good. Those who left became known as the Crows, while those who remained were the Hidatsas.

It is unknown just where the Hidatsas first came in to the area that was to become North Dakota, but it is known that they joined with the Mandans when that tribe lived near the mouth of the Heart River.

When Lewis and Clark came through the region in 1804 and 1805, the Hidatsas inhabited three villages along the Knife River. They estimated the tribe's numbers as around 2,100, including six hundred warriors. The Hidatsas were closely associated with the Mandans, as the lifestyles of both of the tribes were similar. It is believed that it was the Mandans who taught them agriculture, and that the two tribes were allied for protection against the Sioux, and that they moved together up the Missouri River until they reached the mouth of the Knife River.

Eventually, they were consigned to the reservation at Fort Berthold by the same treaties and executive orders that placed the Mandans there.

Of Interest