About This Lesson
The lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places nomination file, "Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site," and other sources. It was written by Fay Metcalf, education consultant, and edited by the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: The lesson could be used in American history units on American Indian culture or westward movement during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Time period: 18th and 19th centuries
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To describe the village life of the Hidatsa and Mandan groups during the peak of their culture in the early 19th century and to explain how the villagers both shaped their environment and adapted to it.
2) To compare information about these seasonally nomadic Plains villagers with the more popularized film and textbook history of nomadic horse-culture Indians such as the Lakota and Cheyenne.
3) To use archeological and historical data to understand the daily life of the villagers during particular time periods.
4) To discover which American Indian groups once lived in their own region and to explore how these local groups were both alike and different from the Hidatsa and Mandan peoples.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-quality version.
1) four maps of Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site and trading patterns of the villages' inhabitants;
2) two readings on the daily life of the Hidatsa and Mandan tribes and the impact of western contact;
3) one photograph of Big Hidatsa Village today;
4) one drawing of the interior of an earthlodge;
5) two paintings
of the Hidatsa and Mandan villages.
Visiting the site
The Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is administered by the National Park Service. The area is located 60 miles north of Bismarck, North Dakota, and can be reached via U.S. Highway 200A. For more information, contact the Superintendent, Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, P.O. Box 9, Stanton, ND 58571, or visit the park's Web pages.