Hidatsa Indians

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Formerly known as the Gros Ventre of the MissouriNot to be confused with the Gros Ventre Indians of Montana. See Gros Ventre (disambiguation).

United States Gotoarrow.png American Indians Gotoarrow.png North Dakota Gotoarrow.png Indians of North Dakota Gotoarrow.png Hidatsa Indians

{{#if: Mandan Tribe, Arikara Tribe|
Winter Village of the Manitaries (Hidatsa) in North Dakota Territory. Artwork by Karl Bodmer, 1833-34, NO. 178.jpg
1980 1,547 
1910 547 
1905 450 [1]
1876 ≈500 
Regions with significant populations
Ancestral Homelands:
Western Minnesota; Devil's Lake region in North Dakota

Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota


Federally recognized as Three Affiliated Tribes

Linguistic Group

language related to Crow

Cultural Group


Other Related Ethnic Groups

Mandan Tribe, Arikara Tribe

Alternate Names and Spellings: Minataree, Minitari, Gros Ventre

Tribal Headquarters

Three Affiliated Tribes
404 Frontage Road
New Town, ND 58763
Phone: 701.627.4781
Fax: 701.627.3503


The Hidatsa originally lived the Devil's Lake area of North Dakota. As they migrated west, the Hidatsa met the Mandan at the mouth of the Heart River. The two groups formed an friendly alliance, and settled along the rivers of the area.

The first recorded contact with non-Indians occurred in 1804, when Lewis and Clark found the Hidatsa living in three villages at the mouth of the Knife River. Two villages of the Mandans were located a few miles down the Missouri River.

Two artists of the American west visited the Hidatsa and Mandan and painted scenes of their life -- George Catlin in 1832, and Karl Bodmer, a Swiss painter accompanying German explorer Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied from 1832 to 1834.

A smallpox epidemic in 1837-1838 reduced the Hidatsa population to about 500 people. The remaining Mandan and Hidatsa united, and moved farther up the Missouri in 1845. They eventually settled at "Like-a-fishhook" bend near Fort Berthold. The Arikara joined them there in 1862.

The Hidatsa signed two treaties with the United States government -- the 1851 treaty at Laramie (Wyoming), which they signed as Gros Ventres, and the unratified 1866 Treaty of Fort Berthold (see links to copies of the treaties under Records below)[2].

A reservation for the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Tribes was set apart on 12 April 1870 by Executive Order[3]. The reservation was located principally in present-day North Dakota, with a small portion in Montana. The Fort Berthold Reservation was later reduced to its present size.

The tribe was allotted land in 1888 under the General Allotment Act, and Like-A-Fishhook Village was abandoned.

Under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Tribes merged and incorporated under their constitution and bylaws as the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation[4].

Brief Timeline

  • 1780-1781: Smallpox epidemic
  • 1837: Smallpox devastated the Tribe
  • 1845: Established Like-A-Fishhook Village near Fort Berthold trading post
  • 1862: The Arikara joined them at Like-A-Fishhook Village
  • 1870: Fort Berthold Agency established for Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara Tribes.
  • 1888: Most of the tribe were located on allotted land; Like-A-Fishhook Village abandoned
  • 1934: Three Affiliated Tribes formed - Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara
  • 1951-1954: Relocated for construction of Garrison Dam and reservoir

Additional References to the History of the Tribe


The majority of records of individuals were those created by the agencies. Some records may be available to tribal members through the tribal headquarters.They were (and are) the local office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and were charged with maintaining records of the activities of those under their responsibility. Among these records are:


The following agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs had jurisdiction over the Hidatsa for the time periods indicated. BIA agencies were responsible to keep such records as census rolls, allotment (land) records, annuity rolls, school records, correspondence, and other records of individual Indians under their jurisdiction. For details, see the page for the respective agency.


During the latter part of the 18th Century and most of the 19th Century, treaties were negotiated between the federal government and individual Indian tribes. The treaties provide helpful information about the history of the tribe, but usually only include the names of those persons who signed the treaty. For more information about treaties, click here.

Treaties to which the Hidatsa Indians were a part were:

  • 1851 Fort Laramie with Sioux, etc.
  • 1866 at Fort Berthold (unratified)

Tribal Office Records

The Tribal Office is responsible for enrollment records, tribal police records, tribal court records, employment records and many others. They are an entirely different set of records from those kept by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Most of them remain in the Tribal Office. For details, contact that office at the address for the Tribal Headquarters listed above.

Important Websites


  1. Frederick Webb Hodge. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906.
  2. Frederick Webb Hodge. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906.
  3. Frederick Webb Hodge. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906.
  4. By-Laws of the Three Affiliated Tribes.


Hidatsa Tribe

  • Meyer, Roy W. The Village Indians of the Upper Missouri: the Mandans, Hidatsas, and Arikaras. Lincoiln: University of Nebraska Press, 1977. FHL book 970.1 M575v.


  • Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives; Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906 Available online.
  • Klein, Barry T., ed. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 2009. 10th ed. WorldCat 317923332; FHL 970.1 R259e; WorldCat 37475188; FHL book 970.1 R259e.
  • Malinowski, Sharon and Sheets, Anna, eds. The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1998. 4 volumes. Includes: Lists of Federally Recognized Tribes for U.S., Alaska, and Canada – pp. 513-529 Alphabetical Listing of Tribes, with reference to volume and page in this series Map of “Historic Locations of U.S. Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Canadian Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Mexican, Hawaiian and Caribbean Native Groups” Maps of “State and Federally Recognized U.S. Indian Reservations. WorldCat 37475188; FHL book 970.1 G131g.
Vol. 1 -- Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean
Vol. 2 -- Great Basin, Southwest, Middle America
Vol. 3 -- Arctic, Subarctic, Great Plains, Plateau
Vol. 4 -- California, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Islands
  • Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
Volume 1 -- Not yet published
Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
Volume 16 -- Not yet published
Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published
  • Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online.
  • Waldman, Carl. Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. New York, New York: Facts on File, 2006. 3rd ed. WorldCat 14718193; FHL book 970.1 W146e 2006