Hidatsa Village, also known as Big Hidatsa Village, was the farthest north of the Knife River Indian Villages. The Hidatsa-proper subgroup established the village sometime around the year 1600 CE. The village covered roughly 15.5 acres and contained over 100 earthlodges. It is estimated that between 820 and 1200 people lived in the village. Notable visitors include David Thompson (1795), Lewis and Clark (1804-1806), George Catlin (1832), and Karl Bodmer (1833-1834). The Hidatsa abandoned the village in 1845, moving upriver 40 miles to establish Like-a-Fishhook Village, their last traditional earthlodge village.
In 1964, the site was designated a National Historic Landmark to protect and preserve one of the best remaining earthlodge village sites in the Northern Plains. Today, the Hidatsa Village remains a site of profound spiritual, cultural, and archeological importance. Visitors can access the village site from a short quarter-mile trail located at the north end of the park.
Did You Know?
The visitor center at Knife River Indian Villages is designed to look like an earthlodge? It has four tall center posts and a space for where the fire pit would be!