Arikara Indians

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Indians of Montana > Arikara Indians
Indians of North Dakota > Arikara Indians

Alternate names: Arickaree, Arikara, Ricara

{{#if: Siksika or North Blackfeet; Kainah or Bloods; Piegan|
Arikara Indian Mandan 1874.jpg
1909 4,635 [1]
1858 abt. 7,000 [2]
1790 abt. 9,000 [3]

Regions with significant populations
Ancestral Homelands: near the Loup River in "Nebraska"

Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.
Portions of the tribe also reside on three reserves in the Province of Alberta in Canada.


Federally recognized as: The Three Affiliated Tribes (Arikara, Mandan and Hidatsa)

Linguistic Group


Other Related Ethnic Groups

Siksika or North Blackfeet; Kainah or Bloods; Piegan


In the 1700's the Arikara tribe came into contact with non-Indians and interacted with them through trade.

During the mid 1790's conflict with the Sioux, resulted in the tribe migrating to the Grand River area South Dakota where the Lewis and Clark Expedition located them in 1804.

The Tribe migrated again in 1823 to northern Nebraska, where in 1825 at Ricara Village, a peace treaty was signed which encouraged trade.

Tribal conflict with the Sioux and Mandan continued and the tribe once again in 1835 migrated settling near the Platte River in Nebraska

A smallpox epidemic in 1833 caused depopulation, one ramification was the tribal band combined which mixed family lines.

In 1862 the tribe joined the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes at Like-a-Fishhook Village, North Dakota.

In 1870 the tribe is assigned to Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota, where in 1934 the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes joined them.

With the contruction of the Garrison Dam, 1951-54, utilizing some of the land of the Fort Berthold Reservation, some tribal members were again required to relocate.

The population of the Arikara Indians in 1780 was estimated at 3,800. In 1910, their popuation was 444, and in 1980 it was 1,536.

Brief Timeline

  • Early 1799: Le Seyer a Spanish  fur trader encountered the Arikara at present day-Fort Pierre, South Dakota
  • 1743 & 1770: the tribe came into contact with French fur traders - along the Missouri River in South Dakota
  • 1794: pressured by the Sioux the tribe moved north above the Grand River
  • 1804: Lews and Clark expedition encountered the tribe
  • 1823: migrated to Northern Nebraska
  • 1825: Treaty
  • 1830: Sioux defeated the Arikara
  • 1832: intertribal conflict with the Sioux and Mandan led the tribe to resettle near Skidi Pawnee at the forks of the Platte River in Nebraska
  • 1835: migrated back to North Dakota
  • 1837: Smallpox epidemic- forced them to combine clans and mix family lines.
  • 1851: Treaty
  • 1862: the tribe joins Mandan and Hidatsa at Like-A-Fishhook Village
  • 1866: Treaty at Fort Berthold,
  • 1870: assigned to Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota 
  • 1934: assigned to Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota; sharing with the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes
  • 1951-1954: the tribe was relocated for construction of Garrison Dam


The Arikara Tribe is primarily associated with the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota.

Additional References to the History of the Tribe

Tribal Headquarters

Three Affiliated Tribes
404 Frontage Road
New Town, ND 58763

Phone Number: 701-627-4781
Fax Number: 701-627-3503


Agency Records

The following agencies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs had jurisdiction over the Arikara 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.

Census Records

The Bureau of Indian Affairs compiled annual Indian Census Rolls on many of the reservations from 1885 to 1940. They list the names of individuals, their age, and other details about each person enumerated. For more information about these records, click here.

The following table lists the census rolls for the Arikara Indians:


Location of

Original Records

Post-1885 Census

M595 RG 75 -- 692 Rolls

Roll Number




Fort Berthold Agency, 1867-70 Washington D.C. 132-36 576487-576491


There are several sets of correspondence between the supervising offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the local offices -- agencies, subagencies, etc. The correspondence is often historical in nature, including reports of the conditions among local groups of Indians, hostilities, plans for building facilities, activities of traders or missionaries, etc. Occasionally, there will be names of individuals but little detail about them. For more information about American Indian correspondence, click here.

The following table lists some correspondence relating to the Arikara Indians:


Location of

Original Records

Pre - 1880


M234 RG 75 -- 962 Rolls

Roll Number




Upper Missouri Agency, 1824-66 Washington D.C. 883-88 -


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 Arikara Indians were a part were:

  • 1825 July 18,at Ricara Village, peace and trade
  • 1851 September 17,at Fort Laramie
  • 1866 July 27,at Fort Berthold (unratified) " we, the said Aricara tribe of Indians agree to do all in our power to prevent the introduction or use of spirituous liquors among our people, and to this end we agree that should any of the members of our tribe encourage the use of spirituous liquors, either by using it themselves, or buying and selling it, whosoever shall do so shall forfeit his claim to any annuities paid by the Government for the current year;"

Tribal Office Records

The Tribal Office is responsible for enrollment records, vital 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.

Vital Records

Vital Records

Prior to the Indian Reorganization Act, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, through their agencies, may have recorded some vital events. Some were recorded on health forms, such as the "Sanitary Record of Sick, Injured, Births, Deaths, etc." Others were recorded as supplements to the "Indian Census Rolls." Some were included in the unindexed reports and other correspondence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Some vital records for the Arikara Indians include:

  • Fort Berthold Agency, M959, births and deaths1924-1932, FHL Film: 576490 and deaths and marriages 1937-39, FHL Film: 576491

Important Web Sites


  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.



  • Carlson, Paul H. The Plains Indians. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, c1998. FHL book 970.1 C197p


  • 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 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