• Aerial photograph of Big Hidatsa National Historic Landmark, located within Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site.

    Knife River Indian Villages

    National Historic Site North Dakota

Awatixa Xi'e Village

Awatixa Xi'e Village

Awatixa Xi'e Village (center) with the Awatixa Village (top left) located on the banks of the Knife River.

NPS

Awatixa Xi'e Village, also known as the Lower Hidatsa Village, was established as early as 1525 CE and continuously occupied until about 1780-1785. Home to the Awatixa Hidatsa subgroup, the village covered an area of about 10 acres and contained at least 50 earthlodges. An estimated 500-600 people lived in the village until it was abandoned after a smallpox epidemic swept through the villages. The survivors moved away to other villages and established the short-lived Rock Village before returning to the area to establish the Awatixa or Sakakawea Village.

Today, the village site is accessible to visitors from a short quarter-mile trail that extends from the Visitor Center to the village. This Village Trail leads to the Awatixa or Sakakawea Village a half-mile later.

Did You Know?

Big Hidatsa

There were 3000 people living at the Knife River villages in 1804? That’s more people than were living in St. Louis, Missouri at the same time!