Each tribe in North Dakota has its own origins, histories and languages, but Plains Indians are united by core beliefs and values that emanate from respect for the earth and an understanding of humankind’s relationship with nature.
The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Tribes (also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes) have lived along the banks of the Missouri River for thousands of years. The lake’s modern-day name honors Sakakawea (also known as Sacagawea), the Native American woman who accompanied the Lewis & Clark Expedition as an interpreter and guide.
The Mandan, Hidatsa and later Arikara Tribes prospered in earth lodges villages along the Knife and Missouri Rivers. By 1862, diseases like smallpox wiped out entire villages, forcing survivors of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Tribes to band together. The three tribes came together in Like-a-Fishhook Village but maintained their tribal identity.
Read more about the history of the MHA Nation’s Tribes