The Three Affiliated Tribes - Fort Berthold Indian Reservation
From Watford City, take Highway 23 and travel east for approximately 45 miles. As you enter the 4 Bears area you will take a right at Lake Sakakawea Road to enter the Earth Lodge Village. The Three Tribes Museum is approximately one mile further down Highway 23 – just prior to the 4 Bears Casino. If time permits, check out the Bison Room at the 4 Bears Casino for a great, one of a kind, meal.
The Long X Trading Post
Start your trip at The Long X Trading Post Visitor Center and Pioneer Museum – your destination for information on McKenzie County’s past and present. Check out North Dakota’s Largest Petrified Tree Stump and pick up brochures on Western North Dakota’s vacation attractions.
The Pioneer Museum lays a great foundation to any touring in the area. Offering two levels, the Museum presents the pioneering spirit of McKenzie County residents of the past and present. Visit the pioneer parlor and experience all the comforts of home. Check out the Prairie School and the sewing and quilting of the early prairie homestead women and Native American women of McKenzie County. Learn about the last lynching in North Dakota taking place in 1931. See a presentation on what it takes to drill for oil in McKenzie County and view the “to scale” Drilling Rig and Work Over Rig on display in the Oil and Gas Exploration exhibit.
Earth Lodge Village & Tipi Encampments
This magnificent attraction, on the eastern edge of McKenzie Count and located on the north shore of Lake Sakakawea features reconstructed earth lodges and tipi encampment. Not only can you tour them – you can book an overnight stay in them! Visitors enjoy hearing the stories of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara peoples from cultural interpreters, seeing the traditional gardens and experiencing the living culture of powwows and events. Powwows not only have music and dancing but also arts, crafts and traditional foods. Typical annual powwows of the Three Affiliated Tribes include:
- Last Weekend In May – Four Bears Powwow
- Third Weekend in July – Mandaree Powwow
- Second Week in August – Little Shell Powwow (New Town)
- Labor Day Weekend in September – Four Bears Casino Labor Day Powwow
Three Tribes Museum
Living within the valley of the Missouri River, the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara nations were among the most powerful tribes of the northern plains. The Three Affiliated Tribes lived in large, consolidated villages consisting of earth lodges that housed between ten and thirty people each. Villages were constructed on terraces and bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, and were frequently fortified with ditches and palisades. The Three Tribes Museum is devoted to the history and culture of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, who were instrumental in the success of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The Corps of Discovery passed the winter of 1804-1805 among the Mandan. Had they not benefited from the knowledge, material culture and food stores of the Mandan, the Corps of Discovery would likely have perished during the bitter cold that characterizes winter on the northern plains. Opening in 1964, the Three Tribes Museum is located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, where the Arikara, Mandan and Hidatsa currently reside. The museum features artwork, crafts, artifacts and other items relating to the three tribes. (March 18, 2013 by James Hart)
In addition to the culture and history of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people that the Museum and Earthlodge Village provides, the area provides access to Lake Sakakawea through the 4 Bears Marina.