North Dakota Eclectics

Plains Nomadic
Plains Nomadic (600 A.D. - 1851 A.D.)

By 600 A.D., many of the people living in the area that was to become North Dakota were nomadic. Not much is known of these people, but they may have been relatives of the earlier Archaic people, or they may have been Woodland people who moved onto the plains from the east, changing their way of living in order to adapt to new conditions.

These people lived in tipis, hunted animals and gathered berries, seeds, and roots for food. Usually, they lived in small groups, following the buffalo herds. As they moved from one place to another, they traded with the people they met. This is known because artifacts from this period have been found in North Dakota which originated in other parts of North America.

During these years, there were more people living on the plains than in preceding years, with people living in all parts of what is now North Dakota. It does not appear that the Plains Nomadic people made pottery, perhaps because they were always on the move. Rather than burying their dead, the Plains Nomadic people placed their dead on scaffolds or platforms.

The Plains Nomadic people traveled light, neither carrying or wasting many material goods. This is known because the sites where they camped or lived contain very few artifacts. Special sites, such as flint quarries or buffalo jumps, contained larger numbers of materials, but little that gave much information about their way of life.

Tribal identifications are difficult among the Plains Nomadic people, mostly due to the relative shortage of artifacts, but they were probably the ancestors of the Sioux (Dakota), Assiniboine, Crow, Cheyenne, and probably the Arapahoe and Blackfeet.

Of Interest