Posted by: Kirsten | Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Wishing I lived in North Dakota

I found this information on a North Dakota Tourism website that features dozens of learning-based vacation ideas, some of which are in the National Parks.  The one-day Winter Adventure shown below looks to be a spectacular chance for homeschool families to truly experience the culture of the Hidatsa/Mandan people.  If you live anywhere within driving distance of Knife River Indian Villages NHS, you’ll be smacking your forehead on Sunday morning if you don’t get out there and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity on Saturday, February 16th.

Parke Diem!
— Jon

Winter Adventure – Heritage Outbound is scheduled for February 16, 2008. Come experience and explore winter life at Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site. The day-long winter adventure begins at 11 a.m. mountain time at the Knife River Indian Villages, NHS, near Stanton. Meet your fellow adventurers over lunch before trying your hand at hide painting. Taught in the Hidatsa/Mandan tradition, National Park Ranger Cassi Rensch will lead the way for everyone to try this activity.

Next, spend the afternoon snowshoeing the trails through the Hidatsa villages with historian Terry O’Halloran, archeologist Timothy Reed, and geologist John Hoganson and learn about Hidatsa village life and the Knife and Missouri Rivers. You can also check out your skills throwing atlatls and playing with ice gliders.

Warm up with hot chocolate and see objects, once used by the Hidatsa, in the interpretive center exhibits before you experience an evening in the earthlodge. We will gather around a huge roaring fire in the earthlodge, where a traditional buffalo feast, prepared by Marilyn Hudson, is served for your enjoyment.

An unforgettable evening continues with traditional stories about Chief Four Bears told by his great-great-great-great grandson, Lyle Gwin. Calvin Grinnell provides insights to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sanich tribal history and culture, and Matt Schanandore presents Native American flute music and stories taught to him by his grandmother.

Coordinator:  Claudia Berg/Dorothy Cook
Location:  Stanton
Date:  Saturday February 16, 2008
Time:  11 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Mountain time)
Est. Price:  $25
Includes:  The fee includes two meals, use of snow shoes, all activity supplies and presentations.
Other Info:  The region of the Knife River Indian Villages, located just North of the confluence of the Knife and Missouri Rivers, was for centuries, the center of agricultural settlement and trade. Our adventure will visit Awaitixa Xi’e or Lower Hidatsa Village and Awatixa also know as Sakakawea Village. For more information, please visit the website.To register call the State Historical Society at 701-329-2724. Payment in full is required at time of registration. No refunds are available unless the event is cancelled due to weather.

Additional Resources:



  1. In the summer, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park (south of Mandan, North Dakota) is a good place to go, too. Besides the On-A-Slant Mandan village, there’s the home of General Custer. A trolley runs from Mandan to the state park for those who don’t want to drive.

    The North Dakota state tourism department really is a great site to visit for more information on the rich cultural experiences here.

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