The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, known collectively as the MHA Nation or Three Affiliated Tribes, welcome visitors to experience their vibrant culture. The tribes believe their presence in North America is from the beginning of time. On the shores of Lake Sakakawea, just 45 miles east of Watford City, you can walk in the steps of indigenous people inside an earthlodge at the Earthlodge Village.
The Three Affiliated Tribes Museum features artwork, crafts, artifacts and historical pieces.
Each tribe in North Dakota has distinct and different origins, histories and languages.
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 later, Arikara tribes, lived peaceful lives in earthlodges along the Knife and Missouri rivers. By 1862, diseases like smallpox wiped out entire villages, forcing survivors to band with other groups. The three tribes came together in Like-a-Fishhook Village but maintained tribal identity.
Today, the Fort Berthold Reservation straddles the north and south shores of Lake Sakakawea, named after the Native American woman who accompanied the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Communities on the 980,000-acre reservation include Twin Buttes, White Shield, Mandaree, New Town and Parshall.
Here are some “can’t miss” things to see and do during your visit to the MHA Nation:
- Experience sacred structures and spend the night in an earth lodge or tipi at the MHA Nation’s Earth Lodge Village
- Sail Lake Sakakawea’s pristine waters in luxury on a yacht excursion tour
- Feel the thrill of a big win at 4 Bears Casino and Lodge
- Savor local flavors of local meals like roasted pheasant, fresh grilled walleye or a bison ribeye.
- Feel the breeze and take a spectacular selfie overlooking Lake Sakakawea from atop Crow Flies High Butte where William Clark waited to reunite with Meriwether Lewis
- Pay tribute to Native Americans who served in times of war and peace
Stimulate your senses at one of MHA Nation’s summer powwows and events.