North Dakota has one of the largest Native American populations in the country. This makes tribal heritage something to celebrate year-round, and especially during National Native American Heritage Month every November.

Spend an afternoon experiencing authentic Native American culture by exploring reconstructed earthlodge villages at On-A-Slant Indian Village near Mandan or at the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Tourism Earth Lodge Village near New Town. The crisp air will help you appreciate the strength and resiliency of these impressive structures, just as much as the people who built them. Historically, when winter arrived, families would gather in an earthlodge to enjoy the warmth, while holding rituals around a roaring fire. Up to 40 people from connected families could live in an earthlodge at one time.

Modern-day celebrations and the gifts that come with them might be on your mind. Consider shopping at one of North Dakota’s native-owned boutiques for the upcoming holiday season. If you have a fashion-forward loved one in your life, check out the Sparkling Spur in Mandaree. The founder, Tiffiany Johnson, self-describes her boutique’s unique style as a mix of Native American, cowboy and western, rocker glam and biker. Or you can check out Beyond Buckskin, which brings together over 40 Native American and First Nations fashion designers and artists through an online boutique. Here, you can browse clothing, accessories and home décor from artists dedicated to showcasing and celebrating their culture.

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle this time of year brings, you can reflect on the history and simple beauty of Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. Located near Stanton, this area was occupied by Native American tribes for over 11,000 years. Today, the remains of three Hidatsa villages lie here, along with 210 depressions of what used to be earthlodges.

The history of Native Americans far precedes North Dakota’s statehood, so take some time to appreciate all the pieces and places that have made our home what is it today, both past and present.

Find out more about Native American culture in North Dakota at:
•    Turtle Mountain Chippewa Center in Belcourt
•    Sitting Bull Visitor Center in Fort Yates
•    N. D. State Museum and Heritage Center in Bismarck
•    MHA Nation Interpretive Center in New Town
•    Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn

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