In 1804, more people were living in the Indian villages along the Knife River than in the city of St. Louis, Missouri.
One of them would be remembered for generations as the woman who helped Lewis and Clark explore the Louisiana Territory and find their way to the Pacific Ocean.
Sacagawea was a Shoshone Indian living within the Hidatsa village with her husband, a French trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau. He joined the expedition as an interpreter, and she came along, eventually contributing her valuable skills as a guide.
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site celebrates Sacagawea’s life and the culture and traditions of the Northern Plains Indians. See a reconstruction of the earth lodges they built and examples of the clothing, tools, and ceremonial artifacts they created.
At Sacagwea Village, you’ll see great depressions in the ground, where dozens of earthen homes once stood. It’s easy to imagine the vibrant culture that thrived here amid the grasslands, wetlands, and forest.
A three-quarter mile trail leads you to the sites of three Hidatsa villages. Archaeologists have learned a great deal about the Plains Indians from evidence pried from the eroded hillside and buried in large garbage pits. You can continue walking through the prairie and forest. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers.