September 4, 2012

Three Affiliated Tribes Timeline


Timeline of important events to the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold (the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara).

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  • Mandan migrate from the Ohio Valley.


  • Arikara migrate to the Plains.


  • Hidatsa migration follows the Mandan, Arikara occupy the Bad/Cheyenne River Area .


  • Coronado encounters the Arikara at the Big Blue River and Mill Creek Valley in present day Kansas .


  • The Mandan build the fortified city of On-a-Slant village which was occupied for at least 200 years until it was abandoned following the devastating smallpox epidemic of 1781



  • The Mandan villages are situated between Cannonball and Knife Rivers. The Third Band is of Hidatsa, called Hidatsa Proper, who left their villages in the Devil’s Lake area and settled in the Missouri River Valley.
  • Arikara trade with the Spanish at Elk Horn River (Present day Nebraska)


  • Mandan and Hidatsa make contact with English traders on the Hudson Bay to obtain axes, metal spear points, kettles and awls.


    • Double Ditch village is established about this date and inhabited from A.D. 1675-1780. Double Ditch is located 7½ miles north of Bismarck on ND Highway 1804. There is a marker at the site.
  • Mandan established Ward Village about 1675 and and occupied it until 1780. It is located northwest Bismarck.


  • Several tribes, including the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Teton (Sioux) occupy and control the Missouri River Valley Plains economy and have established hunting territories from the Big Bend River in South Dakota to the mouth of the Yellowstone River.
  • Mandan draw together in a region 20 miles on either side of the Heart River.
  • The Arikara continued migrating north and built villages in the South Dakota area. They eventually established a trading center in South Dakota. Spanish fur trader Le Seur finds Arikara around the Fort Pierre area. Arikara located on the south Heart River.


  • Arikara at the Grand River in South Dakota where contact is made with the Mandan.


  • Separation of Arikara and Schirri bands near the Cannonball.


  • Vernedyres makes his 1stvisit to the Mandan Village.
  • Arikara recorded as having and trading horses. LaVerendrye locates Arikara near the mouth of the Cannonball River.


  • LaVerendrye’s son arrives at mouth of Bad River where he encounters Chief Little Cherry’s Band. This band is thought to be absorbed into the Kiowa’s.
  • The Little Cherry sacred bundle is missing.


  • Vernedyres returns to the Mandan Villages.


  • The end of the French and Indian War. Canada issued a “Royal Proclamation: protecting all American Indians.”
  • Sioux Tribes push into present day Central South Dakota and begin to push the Arikara into present-day North Dakota.


  • French establish a post among the Arikara at the Cheyenne River.


  • The Declaration of Independence was drafted by English Colonists, and the War for American Independence begins.
  • Arikara fight the Comanche.


    • Smallpox devastates three Bands of Hidatsa. They form one village and move up river to build at the mouth of the Knife River.
  • Smallpox epidemic also hits the Arikara.
  • On-a-Slant village is abandoned by the Mandan.


  • The Mitutanka or Matootonha Mandan village was built around 1787, was on the west bank of the Missouri. Further north and on the East bank was the Rooptahee or Nuptadi Mandan village. Located 38 miles north of Bismarck near Washburn, N.D.


  • Trade and Intercourse Act passed. First laws to regulate trade with Indian tribes.


  • French fur trader Jean Baptiste Trudeau, reports that the Arikara are living north of the Grand River.


  • Smallpox devastates Arikara control over their territory. They lose 29 out of 32 villages, wiped out by smallpox.


  • Canadian geographer and trader, David Thompson visits the villages.


  • President Thomas Jefferson buys the Louisiana Territory from France for three million dollars, & commissions Lewis & Clark to explore.


  • Fur Trade Era Begins .


  • Lewis & Clark visit the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara villages.


  • Mandan Chief Shahaka (Big White) travels east with Lewis and Clark to visit President Thomas Jefferson.


  • Smallpox hits the Mandan & Hidatsa villages.


  • Alexander Henry visits the villages and meets the Hidatsa Chief.


  • Shahaka (Big White) returns home, and his people scoff at his stories of the “White Man” .


  • A small band of Mandan live with the Yankton Sioux (Dakota). The Yankton Chiefs mother was a Mandan.


  • Arikara attack the General Ashley expedition of fur traders headed for the Yellowstone to establish trade. They where forced to retreat after suffering a number of killed and wounded. Ashley returned with his cadre of famous fur trappers, American troops, and a large number of Dakota Sioux to chase the Arikara from their village. The Arikara lost a large number of people and their Chief Gray Eyes
  • General Henry Atkinson and Major Benjamin O’Fallonare are sent to arrange treaties with the Three Tribes.


  • The Bureau of Indian Affairs (B.I.A.) is created.


  • The United States ratifies a treaty with the Mandan, Hidatsa, and the Arikara designed to cement the friendship existing between the U.S. and individual tribes.


  • Fort Union is established at the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. The fort is 24 miles southwest of Williston on North Dakota Highway 1804


  • Fort Clark is establish that Spring by the American Fur Company.


  • George Catlin sketches the Arikara from his boat because they are too hostile to go ashore.
  • Worcester vs. Georgia court ruling establishes principles of tribal sovereignty within American law.
  • First steamboat arrives.
  • Authorization of first U.S. Indian Affairs Commissioner is made to manage Indian affairs.


  • Arikara rejoin the Pawnee in Nebraska on the Loup River.
  • A Dakota war party attack and destroy two small Hidatsa villages. The survivors do not rebuild, but move in with the Mandan.
  • Prince Maximilian of Wied visits the villages of the Three Tribes and is very impressed with Mandan Chief Four Bears and Hidatsa Chief Two Crows.


  • Colonel Henry Dodge holds a peace conference with the Arikara at Bents Fort in Colorado.
  • Arikara return to the Missouri


  • Mandan and Hidatsa warriors attack a band of Dakota as they leave their village killing 100 to 150 Dakota warriors and capturing 43 women and children.
  • Winter of 1836-37 – Many are unable to leave the villages to hunt and begin to starve due to the increased Dakota presence.


  • Smallpox disseminates the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara villages.
  • Mandan Chief Four Bears dies of small pox.
  • Most of the surviving Mandan are taken in by the Hidatsa.


  • The Arikara occupy the abandoned Mandan Village.
  • The Mandan are attacked by the Dakota (losing only one warrior)
  • Maxi’diwia (Waheenee) is born.


  • Father DeSmet visits the villages of the Three Tribes on his way back to St. Louis from a meeting with the Flatheads and Nez Perce. He was much impressed with an Arikara medicine men.


  • The United States takes aboriginal claim to the territory of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara and includes it as part of the Missouri Territory.


  • Elements of all three tribes unite and establish Like a Fishhook Village for protection against the Dakota (Sioux).
  • The first trading post in the area is built by James Kipp , and called Fort James. (later changed to Fort Berthold, 1846)


  • 800 Dakota warriors attack the Hidatsa village.


  • Representatives of the Three Tribes sign the Ft. Laramie Treaty.
  • Father DeSmet baptizes 186 Arikara children. The majority of these children die of cholera a month later.
  • A severe cholera epidemic hits Like-A-Fish-Hook village.


  • Star Village (across from Fort Berthold) )on Beaver Creek is hit by Smallpox Epidemic.


  • Majority of the Mandan have now moved north to Like-A-Fish-Hook village. Only 5-6 lodges remaining at the Fort Clark Villages.


  • Fort Atkinson is built.


  • An Arikara buffalo hunting party is attacked by a war party of 600 Minniconjou, Sans Arc, Two Kettle, Cut Head and Santee Sioux outside of Fort Berthold. At this time their village 6 miles north of Fort Berthold.
  • The Three Tribes where becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the US Government and their promise to provide quality annuities and protection of their villages. The Dakota (Sioux) intensified their attacks on the Three Tribes.


  • Old Fort Berthold is burned by the Dakota (Sioux). Fort Atkinson becomes the new Fort Berthold.


  • United States is preoccupied with its Civil War and ignores treaty agreements to protect the Three Tribes from the Dakota.
  • Attacks on the Three Tribes further intensify. Hidatsa Chief Four Bears is killed by a Dakota (Sioux) raiding party.
  • Final Smallpox Epidemic.
  • Dakota Territory is formally established which includes the present states of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and most of Wyoming.
  • There are at least 70 lodges at Like-A-Fish-Hook village.


  • The Arikara join the Mandan and Hidatsa at Like-A-Fish-Hook village.


  • Father DeSmet tries to raise support for a school at Fort Berthold.
  • Fort Clark was abandoned.


  • Hidatsa Chief Crows Breast refuses to join the Dakota in their war against the Americans.
  • Army surgeon Washington Matthews writes the first Hidatsa dictionary, while stationed at Fort Berthold.
  • The Famous Bloody Knife (Arikara/Yankton) was employed at Fort Berthold as a trader and scout for General Sully.


  • The American Civil War ends.


  • The Three Tribes negotiated the Treaty of 1866 with the United States and lose more lands on the northeast side of the Missouri River.
  • A severe smallpox epidemic ravages the village. and they had another crop failure.


  • Troops are moved 17 miles from Ft. Berthold to Fort Stevenson.


  • Mahlon Wilkinson becomes the first B.I.A agent to be in Fort Berthold.
  • Colonel DeTrobriand enlists 10 Arikara men including Bloody Knife as scouts for the United States Army.
  • The second Ft. Laramie Treaty is negotiated between many of the Plains tribes and the United States .


  • Hidatsa Chief Crow Flies High’s Band, also called the Hushga, move off the Reservation to near Ft. Union and maintained their Independence and culture.
  • Day Schools are established and children are forced to attend.
  • Fort Berthold is attacked by two hundred Dakota .


  • 40 Arikara Scouts now enlisted in the U.S. Army.


  • Mission school is established.
  • Red Butte/Nishu Shell Creek Communities are established.
  • Sperry becomes the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for Fort Berthold. He reopened the government day school.
  • Howard Mandan (the man with a scarred face), son of Red Roan Cow, journey make the journey to attend the boarding school at Santee, Nebraska.
  • The Northern Pacific Railroad is completed to Bismarck.
  • The Three Tribes have nine hundred (900) acres under cultivation.


  • The old agency buildings burns down and along with all the records of the Three Tribes.
  • The Three Tribes refuse to move Oklahoma Indian country.


  • The Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes met in council with their hereditary enemies, the Dakota, at Fort Abraham Lincoln for the purposes of concluding a treaty of peace.


  • The Dakota, attempt to recruit the Three Tribes to join their war against the United States.
  • Son of the Star (Arikara), Crows Breast (Hidatsa) and Red Cow (Mandan), give land for the Congregational mission.


  • A U.S. backed tribal Police force is established despite traditional “policing” and peacekeeping traditions.
  • 13 children left for Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.
  • Captain Richard H. Pratt takes 12 Indian children and a 26-year-old Indian mother of the youngest child from the Fort Berthold reservation to Hampton Institute in Virginia.


  • The position of U.S. Government Indian Agent is established.
  • The practice of religious and cultural oppression begins as many religious ceremonies and native language is banned by the Indian Agent.


  • The Three Tribes lose the southern half of the reservation so that the United States can fulfill a grant made by Congress to the Northern Railway..
  • Son of a Star (Arikara) and Poor Wolf (Hidatsa) travel to Hampton Institute to inspect conditions.


  • The Three Tribes purchases a threshing machine for their wheat, oats, and barley crops.
  • A flour mill is in operation at Fort Berthold.
  • Every family is issued a wagon.


  • Oscar H. Will, a horticulturist, establishes a seed company in Bismarck, obtains corn seed from the Tribes at Fort Berthold.
  • Congress passed laws to convert army forts into Indian schools.


  • The First allotments are made to tribal members.
  • Crow Flies High’s Hushga band returns and settles in the Shell Creek area of Fort Berthold.
  • Shell Creek Day School is opened for the Arikara.


  • Many Tribal members take their allotments and move from Like-A-Fish-Hook village to Elbowoods.


  • The Three Tribes lose title to land lying north of the 48th parallel of north latitude to the United States.


  • The Dawes Act is passed by the United States Congress.


  • The Fort Berthold Indian Agent withholds rations from families who do not send their children to school.
  • 6-10 thousand cattle graze in the western region of the reservation. Stockmen and the government agree to make payment in beef cattle or fifty cents an acre.


  • The Last Okipa (Mandan Sun dance) Ceremony is held .
  • The agency doctor, Josiah Best, of Virginia, is placed in charge of Fort Berthold Reservation.
  • Many people from the Three Tribes haul 100 wagons loaded with buffalo bones to Minot, Dakota Territory, a thriving railroad city of 5,000. The Tribal members get $6.00 per ton.
  • Wolf Chief requests the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. to grant Fort Berthold a school. A boarding school and a day school for communities and districts are authorized.


  • Red Butte/Nishu/Shell Creek/Independence/Charging Eagle/Lucky Mound/Beaver Dam/Elbowoods Communities are established.
  • The Agency is moved to Elbowoods.


  • Another reduction of land is made by Executive Order to the General Allotment Act.
  • The Department of Interior distribute cattle to each Indian family to maintain a living. Fort Berthold reservation was officially surveyed and 949 allotments were made.
  • The United States Congress ratifies the agreement of 1886. The lands ceded by the tribe were opened to homesteaders by proclamation of President Benjamin Harrison.
  • Passage of the Allotment Act of 1891 allows members of the Three Tribes to become United States citizens “with the same rights and immunities as all American citizens.


  • Hushga return to Fort Berthold Reservation and mostly settle in Shell Creek District.


  • Restoration of 23,000 acres to Fort Berthold by President Harrison.
  • Authorization for day schools to be constructed by the government. The first one being Armstrong Day School for the Arikara. Three others were constructed and opened by 1995.


  • Charles Hoffman, a young, educated Arikara, opens a day school at Shell Creek.


  • The deserted military reservation of Fort Stevenson, approximately 17 miles from fort Berthold, is sold by the War Department. The Three Tribes attempt to claim the land, but are unsuccessful.


  • Fort Berthold citizens register to vote and cast more than 100 votes at a county commissioner election in Elbowoods and Armstrong.


  • From 1906 to 1918 Gilbert Wilson works with and writes extensively about the Three Tribes.
  • Congress passes the Burke Act, amending Dawes Allotment Act and establishes twenty-five year trust period for tribal allotments.


  • The sacred WaterBuster bundle is sold to the Heyes Museum, to protect and save it for future generations.


  • The Homestead Act is passed and Congress opens 21 full and partial townships north and east of the Missouri River for homesteading without the Tribe’s approval.


  • A Fort Berthold delegation travels to Washington, D.C. to plead for religious tolerance.


  • 597 new allotments are approved for 112,544 acres. Lands taken in the Homestead Act of June 1, 1910 are opened to American immigrants.
  • Frances Densmore records Mandan and Hidatsa music.


  • The first building is erected on the Parshall town site, which is incorporated June 22, 1915.
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs dental services begin.


  • World War 1
  • Snyder Act
  • Fort Berthold citizens purchase $6,000 worth of Liberty Loan bonds to help support the United States in World War II.


  • George Will obtains Arikara Winter Squash from Gilmore.


  • Will obtained seed from Mandan banquet squash, also from Gilmore.


  • Will obtains seed for Arikara watermelon.


  • U.S. Government grants citizenship to all original inhabitants and immediately start paying taxes.


  • Seven Sacred Arikara Bundles are left of twelve.


  • Twenty thousand dollars appropriated by Congress for a hospital on Fort Berthold. The Meriam Report submitted to the Secretary of the Interior. The problem of Indian administration.


  • Alfred Bowers begins his study of the Mandan and Hidatsa. Martha Beckwith, a folklorist, publishes myths and legends of the Mandan and Hidatsa.


  • Hospital Established at Elbowoods.
  • The Court of Claims orders Federal Government to compensate the Three Tribes for eleven million acres. Five million is awarded. The Bureau of Indian Affairs deducts three million for services rendered. One year later, it is distributed on per capita basis of $1,191.50 per capita.


  • The Department of Interior and the Corps of Engineers conduct the first feasibility study for a dam that would flood Reservation lands. The Three Tribes strongly oppose.


  • The Three Affiliated Tribes Constitution is created .
  • The Johnson O’Malley Act is passed. Facets of Indian administration to be assigned to numerous federal agencies.
  • The Indian Reorganization Act is passed by Congress, to provide the Indian the greatest measure of control of their tribal lands and affairs. Reversed trend to split up Indian land holdings. Provided for tribal ownership and self-government.
  • The Three Tribes adopt a constitution, by-laws, a business charter and elect a tribal council.
  • The Four Bears bridge is constructed over the Missouri river.


  • Three Affiliated Tribes, adopts Constitution By-Laws as a result of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1936.
  • The Indian Health Services Division of Indian Health in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of Interior is established.


  • The Sacred Waterbuster Bundle is returned.


  • World War II Tribal members served in all wars.


  • The Tribal Council passes a resolution strongly opposing any dam below the reservation.


  • A final plan to create the Garrison Dam is passed by Congress and called the Flood Control Act .
  • The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is founded.


  • Indian Claims Act is passed and provides a forum to hear Indian land claims against the United States.


  • Construction of the Garrison Dam begins and the relocation of tribal members soon follows.


  • Payments under Public Law 296 are allocated for lands taken as a result of dam.


  • Additional allocations of monies are made as a result of Public Law 437 for “land readjustment” and further compensation for the U.S. breaches of treaties as a result of dam.
  • Hoover Commission on Reorganization recommends a Termination policy for Indians


  • Ground-breaking ceremony is held for the New Town site.


  • $7.5 million compensation distributed: per capita & tribal economic development.


  • Indian relocation program is established to separate Native Americans from their Reservations and mainstream them into American society.


  • Korean Conflict.


  • Relocation of the reservation population is accomplished, and the new communities of White Shield, Twin Buttes, Mandaree are established.


  • Garrison Diversion Dam is completed.


  • Termination Act.


  • Tribal people allowed legally consume alcohol.
  • Mandaree School was constructed.


  • Flooding of the tribe’s rich Missouri River Valley is completed and Lake Sakakawea is created.


  • Tribal Museum was constructed through federal funds and private donation by Helen Gough, Arikara.


  • Tribal Governments become eligible for federal grants .


  • The B.I.A changes policy to allow Tribal members the first opportunity to buy Reservation lands due to dwindling Reservation land bases.


  • Tribes become eligible for loans from the Housing and Urban Development Program and Farmers Home Administration.


  • Economic Opportunity Act provides a means for Indians to participate in & control their own programs for economic development.


  • Vietnam Conflict.


  • Three Affiliated Tribes Headstart Program is established.


  • Community Action Program -OEO Began Operations Indian Religious Freedom Act.


  • Mandaree Community Center establishes the Neighborhood Youth Corp.
  • Indian Civil Rights Act Minni-Tohe Clinic Built.


  • The Four Bears Complex created.
  • Northrop Corporation begins plant operations in New Town.


  • Community Alcoholism Programs begin under the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO).
  • White Shield community building constructed.


  • North Segment Community Building Constructed
  • Legal Services Program is established on Fort Berthold
  • Congress passes the Indian Education Act of 1972, creating a BIA-level Office of Indian Education as well as a National Advisory Council on Indian Education designed to improve the quality of public education for Indian students.
  • City of New Town vs. US 8th circuit Court of Appeals. The decision was that the Homestead Act of 1910 did not remove lands from reservation boundaries. New Town and Parshall are legally within the boundaries of the reservation.


  • Fort Berthold Community College is established.


  • Congress passes the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, expanding tribal control over reservation programs and authorizing federal funds to build needed public- school facilities on or near Indian Reservations.


  • KMHA Tribal Radio Station Established
  • Indian Child Welfare Act.
  • New Tribal Administration building is constructed.


  • KMHA Radio Station Built.


  • TAT-Environmental /Pollution Monitoring begans.


  • Three Tribes amend Tribal Constitution, extends jurisdiction.
  • The Garrison Diversion Unit Joint Tribal Advisory is formed.


  • The Tribe regains mineral rights within the flooded area under the Mineral Restoration Act .
  • Ominibus Drug Act helps the Tribe fight drug and alcohol abuse.
  • The Joint Tribal Action Committee (JTAC) submits it final report.


  • Courts establish rights for Tribal people to file suits against Non-Tribal people
  • MHA Times Newspaper established (the only weekly Indian owned newspaper in the State of North Dakota).
  • Three Affiliated Tribes, BIA and Bureau of Reclamation begin planning phase for MR & I Water Supply System.


  • Three Tribes lobby for support of JTAC recommendations in Congress.
  • National Indian Gaming Commission, a federal regulatory commission within the U.S. Department of Interior, is established.


  • Tribal Education Office Established – P.L. 93-638 Contract.
  • Work on solid waste management plan and disposal site begins.
  • Tribe begins construction on the Dialysis Unit.


  • Three Affiliated Tribes Wellness Committee is established .
  • Dialysis contract between Three Tribes and Indian Health.
  • Tribally owned construction company (LCM) is established Mandaree Electronics established.
  • Senate Bill 168 and House Resolution are firmly introduced into Congress.
  • Construction begins on MR & I Project & Dialysis Center.


  • Segment Offices Established.
  • Three Tribes Tribal Tax Codes Adopted.
  • Desert Storm


  • Three Affiliated Tribes Enact an Education Philosophy and Mission
  • Three Affiliated Tribes Wellness Conference held.
  • Twin Buttes Community Center opens.
  • Tribal and State Gaming Compact signed.
  • JTAC Negotiations were settled.
  • Fort Berthold Community College classrooms and library facilities Built. A new facility is constructed and is designed to serve as the main administration facility for Fort Berthold Community College.
  • 1st Annual Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Education Week.
  • Three Affiliated Tribes Veterans Office established.


  • Four Bears Casino opens.


  • Expansion of Four Bear’s Casino.


  • The Four Bears Casino breaks ground for the new Four Bear Events Center, 80 room wing and Pool Area.


  • Tribal Administration Building Expanded.
  • 1st Annual Nux Baaga Pow-wow in Parshall
  • Brook Heights Apartment Complex completed at Four Bears.
  • Chairman Tex G. Hall is elected as President of National Congress of Indian.


  • Construction begins on the New North Segment Multi-Purpose Building, Commodity warehouse, juvenile detention facility, and new Four Bears Bridge.


  • The Fort Berthold Community College dedicates a new Cultural Center.
Tribal Timelines
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