The Lakota are a Native American tribe. Known as the Teton Sioux, they are one of the three Sioux tribes of Plains, their current lands are in South Dakota. They speak Lakȟótiyapi—the Lakota language, the westernmost of three related languages that belong to the Siouan language family; the seven bands or "sub-tribes" of the Lakota are: Sičháŋǧu Oglála Itázipčho Húŋkpapȟa Mnikȟówožu Sihásapa Oóhenuŋpa Notable Lakota persons include Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake from the Húnkpapȟa band. Siouan languages speakers may have originated in the lower Mississippi River region and migrated to or originated in the Ohio Valley, they were agriculturalists and may have been part of the Mound Builder civilization during the 9th–12th centuries CE. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Dakota-Lakota speakers lived in the upper Mississippi Region in present-day Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. Conflicts with Anishnaabe and Cree peoples pushed the Lakota west onto the Great Plains in the mid- to late-17th century.
Early Lakota history is recorded in their Winter counts, pictorial calendars painted on hides or recorded on paper. The Battiste Good winter count records Lakota history back to 900 CE, when White Buffalo Calf Woman gave the Lakota people the White Buffalo Calf Pipe. Around 1730, Cheyenne people introduced the Lakota to horses, called šuŋkawakaŋ. After their adoption of horse culture, Lakota society centered on the buffalo hunt on horseback; the total population of the Sioux was estimated at 28,000 by French explorers in 1660. The Lakota population was first estimated at 8,500 in 1805, growing and reaching 16,110 in 1881; the Lakota were, one of the few Native American tribes to increase in population in the 19th century. The number of Lakota has now increased to more than 170,000, of whom about 2,000 still speak the Lakota language. After 1720, the Lakota branch of the Seven Council Fires split into two major sects, the Saône who moved to the Lake Traverse area on the South Dakota–North Dakota–Minnesota border, the Oglála-Sičháŋǧu who occupied the James River valley.
However, by about 1750 the Saône had moved to the east bank of the Missouri River, followed 10 years by the Oglála and Brulé. The large and powerful Arikara and Hidatsa villages had long prevented the Lakota from crossing the Missouri. However, the great smallpox epidemic of 1772–1780 destroyed three-quarters of these tribes; the Lakota crossed the river into short-grass prairies of the High Plains. These newcomers were the Saône, well-mounted and confident, who spread out quickly. In 1765, a Saône exploring and raiding party led by Chief Standing Bear discovered the Black Hills the territory of the Cheyenne. Ten years the Oglála and Brulé crossed the river. In 1776, the Lakota defeated the Cheyenne; the Cheyenne moved west to the Powder River country, the Lakota made the Black Hills their home. Initial United States contact with the Lakota during the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804–1806 was marked by a standoff. Lakota bands refused to allow the explorers to continue upstream, the expedition prepared for battle, which never came.
Some bands of Lakotas became the first Indians to help the United States Army in an Indian war west of the Missouri during the Arikara War in 1823. In 1843, the southern Lakotas attacked Pawnee Chief Blue Coat's village near the Loup in Nebraska, killing many and burning half of the earth lodges. Next time the Lakotas inflicted a blow so severe on the Pawnee would be in 1873, during the Massacre Canyon battle near Republican River. Nearly half a century after Fort Laramie had been built without permission on Lakota land, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 was negotiated to protect travelers on the Oregon Trail; the Cheyenne and Lakota had attacked emigrant parties in a competition for resources, because some settlers had encroached on their lands. The Fort Laramie Treaty acknowledged Lakota sovereignty over the Great Plains in exchange for free passage on the Oregon Trail for "as long as the river flows and the eagle flies"; the United States government did not enforce the treaty restriction against unauthorized settlement.
Lakota and other bands attacked settlers and emigrant trains, causing public pressure on the U. S. Army to punish the hostiles. On September 3, 1855, 700 soldiers under American General William S. Harney avenged the Grattan Massacre by attacking a Lakota village in Nebraska, killing about 100 men and children. A series of short "wars" followed, in 1862–1864, as refugees from the "Dakota War of 1862" in Minnesota fled west to their allies in Montana and Dakota Territory. Increasing illegal settlement after the American Civil War caused war once again; the Black Hills were considered sacred by the Lakota, they objected to mining. Between 1866 and 1868 the U. S. Army fought the Lakota and their allies along the Bozeman Trail over U. S. Forts built to protect miners traveling along the trail. Oglala Chief Red Cloud led his people to victory in Red Cloud's War. In 1868, the United States signed the Fort Laramie
The Gros Ventre known as the Aaniiih, A'aninin and Atsina, are a Algonquian-speaking Native American tribe located in north central Montana. Today the Gros Ventre people are enrolled in the Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation of Montana, a federally recognized tribe with 3,682 enrolled members, that includes Assiniboine people or Nakoda people, the Gros Ventre's historical enemies; the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is in the northernmost part of Montana, just south of the small town of Harlem, Montana. The tribal self-name ʔɔʔɔɔ̋ɔ́niinénnɔh means "White Clay People"; the French used the term Gros Ventre, mistakenly interpreted from their sign language. They were once known as the Gros Ventres of the Prairies, while the Hidatsa people were once called the Gros Ventres of the Missouri; the Piegan Blackfoot, enemies of the Gros Ventre throughout most of history, called the Aaniiih, "Piik-siik-sii-naa", which translates as "snakes". According to the Piegan Institute, the contemporary Piegan name for the Gros Ventre is "Assinee", meaning "big bellies", similar to the falsely translated label applied by the French.
Atsina, a Pieagan word, translates to either "gut people" or "like a Cree". Further clarification of the name is required. After the division of peoples, their relations the Arapaho, who considered them inferior, called them Hitúnĕna, meaning "beggars". Other interpretations of the term have been "hunger", "waterfall", "big bellies"; the Gros Ventres are believed to have lived in the western Great Lakes region 3000 years ago, where they lived an agrarian lifestyle, cultivating maize. With the ancestors of the Arapaho, they formed a single, large Algonquian-speaking people who lived along the Red River valley in northern present-day Minnesota and in Manitoba, Canada, they were associated with the ancestors of the Cheyenne. They spoke the now nearly extinct Gros Ventre language, a similar Plains Algonquian language like their kin the Arapaho and grouped therefore as an Arapahoan language. There is evidence that, together with bands of Northern Arapaho, a southern tribal group, the Staetan, spoke the Besawunena dialect, which had speakers among the Northern Arapaho as as the late 1920s.
In the early 18th century, the large tribe split into two, forming the Arapaho. These, with the Cheyenne, were among the last to migrate into Montana, due to pressure from the Ojibwe. After they migrated to Montana, the Arapaho moved southwards to the Colorado area; the Cheyenne who migrated with the Gros Ventre and Arapaho migrated onwards. The Gros Ventres were reported living in two north-south tribal groups - the so-called Fall Indians of 260 tipis traded with the North West Company on the Upper Saskatchewan River and roamed between the Missouri and Bow River, the so-called Staetan tribe of 40 tipis living in close contact with bands and roamed the headwaters of the Loup branch of the North Platte River; the Gros Ventres acquired horses in the mid-18th century. The earliest known contact of Gros Ventres with whites was around 1754, between the north and south forks of the Saskatchewan River. Exposure to smallpox reduced their numbers about this time. Around 1793, in response to attacks by well-armed Cree and Assiniboines, large groups of Gros Ventres burned two Hudson's Bay Company trading posts that were providing guns to the Cree and Assiniboine tribes in what is now Saskatchewan.
In 1832, the Gros Ventres made contact with Prince Maximilian. Along with the naturalist painter Karl Bodmer, the Europeans painted portraits and recorded their meeting with the Gros Ventres, near the Missouri River in Montana; the Gros Ventres joined the Blackfoot Confederacy. After allying with the Blackfoot, the Gros Ventres moved to north-central Montana and southern Canada. In 1855, Isaac Stevens, Governor of the Washington Territory, concluded a treaty to provide peace between the United States and the Blackfoot and Nez Perce tribes; the Gros Ventres signed the treaty as part of the Blackfoot Confederacy, whose territory near the Three Fork area became a common hunting ground for the Flathead, Nez Perce and Crow Indians. A common hunting ground north of the Missouri River on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation included the Assiniboine and Sioux. In 1861, the Gros Ventres left the Blackfoot Confederacy. Allying with the Crow, the Gros Ventres fought the Blackfoot but in 1867, they were defeated.
In 1868, the United States government established a trading post called Fort Browning near the mouth of Peoples Creek on the Milk River. This trading post was built for the Gros Ventres and Assiniboines, but because it was on a favorite hunting ground of the Sioux, it was abandoned in 1871; the government built Fort Belknap, established on the south side of the Milk River, about one mile southwest of the present town site of Harlem, Montana. Fort Belknap was a substation post, with half of the structure being a trading post. A block house stood to the left of the stockade gate. At the right was a warehouse and an issue building, where the tribe received their rations and annuity goods. In 1876, the fort was discontinued and the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine people receiving annuities at the post were instructed to go to the agency at Fort Peck and Wolf Point; the Assiniboines did not object to going to Wolf Point and went about moving. If they did, they would come into contact with th
Great Plains Indian Trading Networks before Lewis and Clark
The Great Plains Indian Trading Networks encountered by the first Europeans on the Great Plains were built on a number of trading centers acting as hubs in an advanced system of exchange over great distances. The primary centers were found at the villages of the Mandan and Arikara, with a surplus of agricultural produce that could be exchanged. Secondary centers were found at the villages of the Pawnee and Osage on the central plains, at the Caddo villages on the southern plains; the Dakota rendezvous was an important annual trading fair among the Sioux. European demand for fur changed the relations of the plains, increased the occurrence of war, displaced several Indian nations that were forced away by the Sioux coming from the east. On the northern plains, European trade lay in the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company, although most of the territory belonged to France, Spain. European trade on the central plains was controlled by French merchants, first from New Orleans from St. Louis. From the mid-1700s', the Comanche became an important military and commercial factor on the southern plains, forcing the Apaches into the mountains, exchanging goods and spoils with the Southwestern trading networks hubs in New Mexico.
The trading networks encountered by the first Europeans on the Great Plans were built on a number of trading centers acting as hubs in an advanced system of exchange over great distances. The major centers were found at the villages of sedentary peoples with a surplus of agricultural produce that could be exchanged. Treasured commodities such as marine shells and turquoise were transported thousands of miles from their origin; the primary trading centers were found on the middle Missouri River, at the villages of the Mandans and Arikara. The central place of these villages in the exchange system was based on an advantageous geographical position combined with a surplus from agriculture and craft. Historical sources show that the Middle Missouri villages were visited by Cree, Crow, Arapaho, Plains Apache and Comanche; the Arikara villages were frequented by the Sioux. South of the Arikara the Sioux gathered at the Dakota Rendezvous, an annual fair exchanging goods acquired from other Indian nations.
The villages of the Pawnee and Osage were secondary centers on the central plains. On the southern plains, the Caddo villages formed important secondary centers whose westward exchange connected the Plains trading networks with the Southwestern trading networks. Important middlemen in the exchange system were Assiniboine and Cree, who connected the Mandan and Arikara trading centers with the Northern Plains, with the forest peoples north of Lake Superior; the Sioux brought goods from the Dakota Rendezvous to the Arikara, while the Kansa acted as intermediaries between the Osage and the Pawnee. The Cheyenne were intermediaries between the Comanches and the Plains Apaches, the primary trading centers on the Middle Missouri, thereby connecting them with the Shoshone Rendezvous and the Great Basin trading networks. On the southern plains, the Comanche became an all important factor after their arrival. European demand for fur transformed the economic relations of the Great Plains Indians from a subsistence economy to an economy influenced by market forces, thereby increasing the occurrence of conflicts and war between the several Great Plains Indian nations as they struggled to control access to natural resources and trade routes.
The horse replaced the dog as a beast of burden, increased the efficacy of the bison hunt, became a valuable tool of war. The horse did not reach the Great Plains until after the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, when thousands of horses began to spread north and through the Shoshone Rendezvous reached the Great Plains trading networks and the villages of the Mandan and Arikara, as well as the Dakota Rendezvous, to the farthest reaches of the trading networks; the musket distributed through the Mandan and Arikara villages, gave its owners military superiority converted into control of natural resources and trade routes. During the 18th century, Indian nations with trade guns displaced nations without firearms in a process that radically changed the ethnography of the Great Plains; the horse spread from south to north and from east to west, while the musket spread from north to south and from east to west. Yet it was not until 1850 that the distribution of guns overlapped. Although most of the northern plains belonged to French and Spanish Louisiana, the Louisiana merchants failed to convert the formal sovereignty into trade with the Great Plains Indians north of the Osages.
Rather, it was the Hudson's Bay Company. English muskets were much-coveted articles that changed the balance of power between the Indian nations. During the 18th century, mounted Shoshone controlled the northern Great Plains, but through Assiniboine middlemen Blackfoot, Gros Ventre and Sarcee acquired HBC trade guns, forced them back to the mountains. Mandan and Arikara direct trade with the HBC was principally through Brandon House, after its foundation at the end of the 18th century. Efficient competitors of the HBC did not come from Louisiana, but from the North West Company of Montreal. At the end of the 17th century and the Assiniboine became intermediaries between the HBC and more distant Indian nations, maintaining their position with the aid of English muskets; the two nations formed a close alliance in war and trade, further strengthened by the enmity of both the French and the Sioux. The Sioux were during the 18th century forced westward by the Cree and the Ojibwe, who had access to firearms, moving into
The Yellowstone River is a tributary of the Missouri River 692 miles long, in the western United States. Considered the principal tributary of the upper Missouri, the river and its tributaries drain a wide area stretching from the Rocky Mountains in the vicinity of the Yellowstone National Park across the mountains and high plains of southern Montana and northern Wyoming; the Yellowstone River Watershed is a river basin spanning 37,167 square miles across Montana, with minor extensions into Wyoming and North Dakota toward headwaters and terminus, respectively. The Yellowstone Basin Watershed contains a system of rivers, including the Yellowstone River, four tributary basins: the Clarks Fork Yellowstone, Wind River and Bighorn River, Tongue River, Powder River; these rivers form tributaries to the Missouri River. The mainstem of the Yellowstone River is more than 700 miles long. At the headwaters, elevations exceed 12,800 feet above sea level and descends to 1,850 feet at the confluence with the Missouri River in North Dakota.
The watershed spans 34,167 square miles. The area contains many lakes, including Yellowstone Lake. There are no storage dams located on the mainstem of the Yellowstone River. However, the watershed contains five major reservoirs: Bull Lake, Buffalo, Tongue River, Lake De Smet reservoirs; the river rises in northwestern Wyoming in the Absaroka Range, on the Continental Divide in southwestern Park County. The river starts where the South Fork of the Yellowstone River converge; the North Fork, the larger of the two forks, flows from Younts Peak. The South Fork flows from the southern slopes of Thorofare Mountain; the Yellowstone River flows northward through Yellowstone National Park and draining Yellowstone Lake dropping over the Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls at the head of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone within the confines of the park. After passing through the Black Canyon of the Yellowstone downstream of the Grand Canyon, the river flows northward into Montana between the northern Absaroka Range and the Gallatin Range in Paradise Valley.
The river emerges from the mountains near the town of Livingston, where it turns eastward and northeastward, flowing across the northern Great Plains past the city of Billings. East of Billings, it is joined by the Bighorn River. Further downriver, it is joined by the Tongue near Miles City, by the Powder in eastern Montana, it flows into North Dakota just upstream from Lake Sakakawea. In Montana the river has been used extensively for irrigation since the 1860s. In its upper reaches, within Yellowstone Park and the mountains of Montana, it is a popular destination for fly fishing; the Yellowstone is a Class I river from the Yellowstone National Park boundary to the North Dakota border for the purposes of stream access for recreational purposes. The division of water rights to the entire Yellowstone River Basin among Wyoming and North Dakota, governed by a 1950 compact, was disputed in a 2010 lawsuit brought directly in the U. S. Supreme Court by Montana against Wyoming. Oral argument took place in January 2011.
On May 2, 2011, the Court held 7-2 that Montana had no valid claim for diminution of its water, since Wyoming was irrigating the same acreage as always, albeit by a more modern method that returned less runoff to go downstream to Montana. The name is believed to have been derived from the Minnetaree Indian name Mi tse a-da-zi. Common lore states that the name came from the yellow-colored rocks along the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, but the Minnetaree never lived along the upper stretches of the Yellowstone; some scholars think that the river was named after yellow-colored sandstone bluffs on the lower Yellowstone, instead. The Crow Indians, who lived along the upper Yellowstone in Southern Montana, called it E-chee-dick-karsh-ah-shay. Translating the Minnetaree name, French trappers called the river Roche Jaune, a name used by mountain men until the mid-19th century. Independently and Clark recorded the English translation of Yellow Stone for the river, after encountering the Minnetaree in 1805.
With expanding settlement by people from the United States, the English name became the most used. The river was explored in 1806 by William Clark during the return voyage of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark's Fork of the river was named for him. Most of the natural features of the Yellowstone Valley that were not named by Lewis and Clark were named by pioneer steamboat captain Grant Marsh. Marsh was selected by the Army for an exploratory expedition in 1873 on his boat the Key West. Marsh kept a detailed log, the names he bestowed were recorded by a representative of the War Department and applied on official maps; these include:- Forsyth Butte, named in honor of Brevet Brig. Gen. George Alexander Forsyth, commander of the expedition. - Cut Nose Butte, Chimney Rock and Diamond Island, for their resemblance to these objects. - Seven Sisters Islands, in remembrance of Captain Marsh's seven sisters. - Crittenden Island, for General T. L. Crittenden, who commanded the 17th Infantry, garrisoned at posts along the Missouri River.
- Mary Island, for the chambermaid on the Key West, wife of the steward, "Dutch Jake." - Reno Island, for Major Marcus A. Reno, of the 7th Cavalry. - Schindel Island, for Major M. Bryant, commanding t
The Iron Confederacy was a political and military alliance of Plains Indians of what is now Western Canada and the northern United States. This confederacy included various individual bands that formed political and military alliances in defense against common enemies; the ethnic groups that made up the Confederacy were the branches of the Cree that moved onto the Great Plains around 1740, the Saulteaux, the Nakoda or Stoney people called Pwat or Assiniboine, the Metis and Iroquois. The Confederacy rose to predominance on the northern Plains during the height of the North American fur trade when they operated as middlemen controlling the flow of European goods guns and ammunition, to other Indigenous nations, the flow of furs to the Hudson's Bay Company and North West Company trading posts, its peoples also played a major part in the bison hunt, the pemmican trade. The decline of the fur trade and the collapse of the bison herds sapped the power of the Confederacy after the 1860s, it could no longer act as a barrier to U.
S. and Canadian expansion. The Assiniboine are believed to have originated on the southern edge of the Laurentian Shield in present-day Minnesota, they became a separate people from their closest linguistic cousins, the Yanktonai Dakota, sometime prior to 1640 when they are first mentioned by Europeans in the Jesuit Relation. They were not a member of the "Seven Fires Council" of the Great Sioux Nation by this time and were referred to by other Sioux speakers as the Hohe or "rebels". By 1806 the historical evidence definitively locates them in the Assiniboine River valley in present-day Saskatchewan and Manitoba; the Cree had been in contact with Europeans since around 1611 when Henry Hudson reached their ancestral homeland around Hudson and James Bays. The traditional view of historians, based on the accounts of white traders, is that once the Hudson's Bay Company began to establish itself in the Hudson Bay region, two branches of the Cree began moving west and south to act as middlemen traders.
They denied other plains peoples access to the HBC, except for the Assiniboine, in exchange for peaceful relations. A more recent view, based on oral history and linguistic evidence, suggests that the Cree were established west of Lake Winnipeg when the HBC arrived, were present as far west as the Peace River Region of present-day Alberta; when the Hudson's Bay Company opened its first bayside posts in 1668 and 1688, the Cree became their main customers and resellers. Prior to this the Cree had been at the northwestern edge of a trade system linked to the French, from which they received only the secondhand goods others were ready to discard. Once in possession of direct access to European tools and weapons, the Cree were able to expand West; the earliest written record of the military and political relations of the nations west of Hudson's Bay comes from Henry Kelsey's journal circa 1690–1692. In it, he states that the Cree and the Assiniboine had good relations with the Blackfoot and were allies against the "Eagle Birch Indians, Mountain Poets, Nayanwattame Poets".
The history of the Stoney before the mid-eighteenth century are obscure. They speak a Siouan language they call nakoda, little different from Assiniboine; the present-day Stoney Nation of Alberta believes that Kelsey's mention of the "Mountain Poets" may refer to their ancestors. However the consensus view is. There is clear evidence of them as a separate group from 1754–1755 when Anthony Henday wrote of camping with "Stone" families near present-day Red Deer, Alberta; the Stoney were trading with the Cree fur traders at this point and were military allies. American ethnographer and historian Edward S. Curtis wrote about the close but unstable relationship between the Assiniboine and the Plains Cree, how, after the Plains and Woods Cree territories diverged, the Woods Cree were no longer a part of this military alliance: During this early period the north front of expansion is better documented. By the early 1700s the Cree had come into conflict with the Chipewyan to their northwest. With help of a Chipewyan interpreter, the HBC was able to help broker a peace between the Cree and Chipewyan in 1715.
By 1760 the western front of Cree expansion reached the Lesser Slave Lake region of what is now northern Alberta where the Cree pushed out the Beaver people. The Cree-Beaver conflicts lasted until the smallpox epidemic in 1781 decimated the Cree in the region, leading to a peace treaty ratified by a pipe ceremony at Peace Point, which gave its name to the Peace River; the river became the boundary with the Beavers on the Cree on the right bank. In the south little political or economic history is recorded for several decades. Recounting his story to David Thompson many years a Cree man named Saukamappee told of a band of Cree aiding the Piegan in their conflict with the Snake near the Eagle Hills around 1723; the battle was fought on foot with bows-and-arrows tipped with obsidian, neither guns nor horses were involved at this point. By 1732 the Snakes had horses, which they were using to great effect against the Piegan, so the Piegan called upon the Cr
Montana is a landlocked state in the Northwestern United States. Montana has several nicknames, although none are official, including "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more "The Last Best Place". Montana is the 4th largest in area, the 8th least populous, the 3rd least densely populated of the 50 U. S. states. The western half of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller island ranges are found throughout the state. In all, 77 named; the eastern half of Montana is characterized by badlands. Montana is bordered by Idaho to the west, Wyoming to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan to the north; the economy is based on agriculture, including ranching and cereal grain farming. Other significant economic resources include oil, coal, hard rock mining, lumber; the health care and government sectors are significant to the state's economy. The state's fastest-growing sector is tourism.
Nearly 13 million tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, the Beartooth Highway, Flathead Lake, Big Sky Resort, other attractions. The name Montana comes from the Spanish word Montaña, which in turn comes from the Latin word Montanea, meaning "mountain", or more broadly, "mountainous country". Montaña del Norte was the name given by early Spanish explorers to the entire mountainous region of the west; the name Montana was added to a bill by the United States House Committee on Territories, chaired at the time by Rep. James Ashley of Ohio, for the territory that would become Idaho Territory; the name was changed by Representatives Henry Wilson and Benjamin F. Harding, who complained Montana had "no meaning"; when Ashley presented a bill to establish a temporary government in 1864 for a new territory to be carved out of Idaho, he again chose Montana Territory. This time Rep. Samuel Cox of Ohio, objected to the name. Cox complained the name was a misnomer given most of the territory was not mountainous and that a Native American name would be more appropriate than a Spanish one.
Other names such as Shoshone were suggested, but it was decided the Committee on Territories could name it whatever they wanted, so the original name of Montana was adopted. Montana is one of the nine Mountain States, located in the north of the region known as the Western United States, it borders North South Dakota to the east. Wyoming is to the south, Idaho is to the west and southwest, three Canadian provinces, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, are to the north. With an area of 147,040 square miles, Montana is larger than Japan, it is the fourth largest state in the United States after Alaska and California. S. state. The state's topography is defined by the Continental Divide, which splits much of the state into distinct eastern and western regions. Most of Montana's 100 or more named mountain ranges are in the state's western half, most of, geologically and geographically part of the Northern Rocky Mountains; the Absaroka and Beartooth ranges in the state's south-central part are technically part of the Central Rocky Mountains.
The Rocky Mountain Front is a significant feature in the state's north-central portion, isolated island ranges that interrupt the prairie landscape common in the central and eastern parts of the state. About 60 percent of the state is part of the northern Great Plains; the Bitterroot Mountains—one of the longest continuous ranges in the Rocky Mountain chain from Alaska to Mexico—along with smaller ranges, including the Coeur d'Alene Mountains and the Cabinet Mountains, divide the state from Idaho. The southern third of the Bitterroot range blends into the Continental Divide. Other major mountain ranges west of the Divide include the Cabinet Mountains, the Anaconda Range, the Missions, the Garnet Range, Sapphire Mountains, Flint Creek Range; the Divide's northern section, where the mountains give way to prairie, is part of the Rocky Mountain Front. The front is most pronounced in the Lewis Range, located in Glacier National Park. Due to the configuration of mountain ranges in Glacier National Park, the Northern Divide crosses this region and turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak.
It causes the Waterton River and Saint Mary rivers to flow north into Alberta, Canada. There they join the Saskatchewan River, which empties into Hudson Bay. East of the divide, several parallel ranges cover the state's southern part, including the Gravelly Range, the Madison Range, Gallatin Range, Absaroka Mountains and the Beartooth Mountains; the Beartooth Plateau is the largest continuous land mass over 10,000 feet high in the continental United States. It contains Granite Peak, 12,799 feet high. North of these ranges are the Big Belt Mountains, Bridger Mountains, Tobacco Roots, several island ranges, including the Crazy Mountains and Little Belt Mountains. Between many mountain ranges are rich river valleys; the Big Hole Valley, Bitterroot Valley, Gallatin Valley, Flathead Valley, Paradise Valley have extensive agricultural resources and multiple opportunities for tourism and recreation. East and north of this transition zone are the expansive and sparsely populated Northern Plains, with tableland prairies, smaller island mountain ranges, badlands.
The isolated island ranges east of the Divide include the Bear Paw Mountains, Bull Mountains, Castle Mountains, Crazy Mountains, Highwood Mountains, Judi
Arikara known as Sahnish, Arikaree or Hundi, are a tribe of Native Americans in North Dakota. Today, they are enrolled with the Mandan and the Hidatsa as the federally recognized tribe known as the Mandan and Arikara Nation; the Arikara's name is believed to mean "horns," in reference to the ancient custom of wearing two upright bones in their hair. The name could mean "elk people" or "corn eaters." The Arikara language is a member of the Caddoan language family. Arikara is close to the Pawnee language; as of 2007, the total number of remaining native speakers was reported as ten, one of whom, Maude Starr, died on 20 January 2010. She was a certified language teacher. Linguistic divergence between Arikara and Pawnee suggests a separation from the Skidi Pawnee in about the 15th century; the Arzberger Site near present-day Pierre, South Dakota, designated as a National Historic Landmark, is an archeological site from this period, containing the remains of a fortified village with more than 44 lodges.
An Arikara village, near where present-day Pierre, South Dakota developed, was visited in 1743 by two sons of the French trader and explorer La Vérendrye. In the last quarter of the 17th century, the Arikara came under attack from the Omaha/Ponca and the Iowa near the end of the Omaha/Ponca migration to Nebraska. With peace established the Arikara influenced the newcomers; the Omaha still credit the Arikara women for instructing them in the art of building earth lodges. The Arikara lived as a semi-nomadic people on the Great Plains. During the sedentary seasons, the Arikara lived in villages of earth lodges. While traveling or during the seasonal bison hunts, they erected portable tipis as temporary shelter, they were an agricultural society, whose women cultivated varieties of corn. The crop was such an important staple of their society that it was referred to as "Mother Corn."An early European, a botanist, praised the Arikara women as excellent cultivators. He had not seen finer crops anywhere in America.
The surplus corn and other crops, along with tobacco, were traded to the Lakota, the Cheyenne and more southern plains tribes during short-lived truces. The amount of trading items passing through the Arikara villages made them a "trading center on the Upper Missouri". Before smallpox epidemics hit the three village tribes, they were the "most influential and affluent peoples in the Northern Plains". Traditionally an Arikara family owned 30–40 dogs; the people used them for hunting and as sentries, but most for transportation in the centuries before the Plains tribes adopted the use of horses in the 1600s. Many of the Plains tribes had used the travois, a lightweight transportation device pulled by dogs, it consisted of two long poles attached by a harness at the dog's shoulders, with the butt ends dragging behind the animal. Women used dogs to pull travois to haul firewood or infants; the travois were used to carry meat harvested during the seasonal hunts. The Arikara played a central role in the Great Plains Indian trading networks based on an advantageous geographical position combined with a surplus from agriculture and craft.
Historical sources show that the Arikara villages were visited by Cree, Crow, Arapaho, Kiowa, Plains Apache and Comanche. In the late 18th century, the tribe suffered a high rate of fatalities from smallpox epidemics, which reduced their population from an estimated 30,000 to 6,000, disrupting their social structure. Other estimates range from less than 10,000 people as a peak population to 25,000; the smallpox epidemic of 1780-1782 reduced the Arikara villages along the Missouri to just two from thirty-two. The effects of the epidemic may have been so terrible that it could not be comprehended but in allegorical form. All-out war hit the weakened and divided Arikara. In a burned-down village, archaeologists found the mutilated skeletons of 71 men and children, killed in the early 1780s by unknown Indian attackers. Groups of Sioux were the ones, they attacked the vulnerable Arikara and increased "the pace of Sioux expansion" west of the Missouri. The Arikara faced many challenges during the first quarter of the 19th century: Reduced numbers, competition from white traders, military pressure from the Lakota and other groups of Sioux.
Alliances shifted constantly. The Arikara joined old foes the Sioux in raids on Hidatsa Indians, they negotiated for peace with both village tribes. Due to their reduced numbers, the Arikara started to live closer to the Mandan and Hidatsa in the same area for mutual protection, they migrated from present-day Nebraska and South Dakota into North Dakota in response to pressure from other tribes the Sioux, European-American settlers. The remainder of the group was encountered in 1804 by the Clark Expedition; the first Arikara delegation left for the capital, Washington, DC, in April 1805, urged by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Chief Ankedoucharo died in Washington; the delegates blamed the whites for the chief's death. That was one reason why the Arikara for the next decades were "notoriously hostile to white Americans". On June 2, 1823, the Arikara attacked a group of 70 trappers led by William Henry Ashley of the Henry/Ashley Company; the trappers were camped near an Arikara village at the mouth of Grand River.