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Three Affiliated Tribes - Fundamental Concepts and Discussion Questions

Quick Links: Historical, Demographics, Government,
Cultural Overview - Mandan, Cultural Overview - Hidatsa,
Cultural Overview - Sahnish, Leaders - Traditional,
Leaders - Contemporary, Contemporary Issues, Timeline

Tribal Historical Overview

Fundamental Concepts

  • Migration
  • Treaties and Treaty Making
  • Reservation
  • Boarding Schools
  • Indian Policy and Federal Legislation

Discussion Questions

  1. Where did the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara people originate?
  2. Over what period of time did their migration occur?
  3. According to documented history, how long have the people lived in their present location?
  4. How did the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara record the events of their existence?
  5. What was the long-term effect of the treaties made with the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara?
  6. How did these treaties affect others? The United States? Settlers?
  7. What effect did language have on the treaty negotiations process?
  8. Why were reservations created?
  9. What was the impact of boarding schools on the cultures and languages of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara?
  10. What was the impact of federal legislation on the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara?

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Demographics

Fundamental Concepts

  • Traditional Land Base
  • Subsistence vs. Development
  • Ownership vs. Severalty

Discussion Questions

  1. The traditional seasonal cycle by which the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish (Arikara) supported themselves and structured their family life is dependent upon the land. What effect does placement on a reservation and limited land base have upon the people and upon their lifestyles?
  2. Is the Fort Berthold Reservation land base of sufficient size and quality to support the tribes and the people’s needs? Why? Why not?
  3. Very often, tribes were placed in geographic areas in which the soil was not arable. Review soil and growing season maps, assess what types of soil and growing seasons had on traditional lifestyles for native groups and on non-native groups.
  4. Do a comparative analysis of the distribution of agricultural land to native groups and non-native groups. Based upon data, what are the consequences of land distribution?
  5. How have native peoples adapted to their current environment? Assess and provide a report.
  6. Compare and contrast the economy on the reservation to neighboring communities.
  7. Does the tribe have a stable economic infrastructure (private business sector)?
  8. If so, for what period of time has the economic infrastructure flourished and what has been the impact on the community? On neighboring communities?

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Three Affiliated Tribes Government

Fundamental Concepts

  • Traditional Forms of Governance
  • Modern Forms of Governance

Discussion Questions

  1. How does governance differ in traditional and modern forms of tribal governments?
  2. What characteristics of limited and unlimited government apply to tribal governments? To state governments? To the federal government?
  3. There are several kinds of relationships between the central government of a nation and other units of government within that nation. What types of relationships exist among tribal, local, state governments, and the federal government?
  4. How are tribal governments the same as municipal and state governments? How do they differ?
  5. There are alternative ways of organizing constitutional governments—for example, representative, electoral. How are tribal governments organized?
  6. Can tribal governments be defined as confederal, federal, or unitary systems of governments? Why? Why not?

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Cultural Overview - Mandan Culture

Fundamental Concepts

  • Subsistence
  • Harmony with Nature
  • Family and Clan Structures

Discussion Questions

  1. What is subsistence and why was it important to native cultures?
  2. How did the environment and geography shape the lifestyles and traditions of the Mandan people?
  3. How are lifestyles affected by changing seasons?
  4. What are some similarities and differences among the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish and non-native family structures?
  5. What are clans, bands, and moieties and why are they significant to the Mandan?
  6. What are some differences between historical and contemporary divisions of work for both native and non-native people? Your family? In the past and in the present?
  7. Why were native students taken from their homes and sent to boarding schools?

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Cultural Overview - Hidatsa Culture

Fundamental Concepts

  • Subsistence
  • Harmony with Nature
  • Family and Clan Structures

Discussion Questions

  1. What is subsistence and why was it important to native cultures?
  2. How did the environment and geography shape the lifestyles and traditions of the Hidatsa people?
  3. How are lifestyles affected by changing seasons?
  4. What are some similarities and differences among the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish and non-native family structures?
  5. What are clans, bands, and moieties and why are they significant to the Hidatsa?
  6. What are some differences between historical and contemporary divisions of work for both native and non-native people? Your family? In the past and in the present?
  7. Why were native students taken from their homes and sent to boarding schools?

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Cultural Overview - Sahnish Culture

Fundamental Concepts

  • Subsistence
  • Harmony with nature
  • Family and clan structures

Discussion Questions

  1. What is subsistence and why was it important to native cultures?
  2. How did the environment and geography shape the lifestyles and traditions of the Sahnish people?
  3. How are lifestyles affected by changing seasons?
  4. What are some similarities and differences among the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish and non-native family structures?
  5. What are clans, bands, and moieties and why are they significant to Sahnish?
  6. What are some differences between historical and contemporary divisions of work for both native and non-native people? Your family? In the past and in the present?
  7. Why were native students taken from their homes and sent to boarding schools?

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Leaders - Traditional

Fundamental Concepts

  • Form of Leadership
  • Ascendancy
  • Role of Religion in Politics
  • Hereditary Leadership
  • Styles of Leadership

Discussion Questions

  1. How were leaders chosen in historic times?
  2. Compare and contrast historic and contemporary styles of leadership.
  3. What benefits were derived from traditional forms of leadership?
  4. Many native cultures believe that it is critical for their survival to maintain traditional forms of leadership. What elements are important? How do they benefit the people?

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Leaders - Contemporary

Fundamental Concepts

  • Forms of Leadership
  • Ascendency
  • Role of Religion in Leadership
  • Hereditary Leadership
  • Styles of Leadership

Discussion Questions

  1. How are leaders selected in contemporary times?
  2. Compare and contrast contemporary leadership with traditional leadership.
  3. What benefits were derived from traditional forms of leadership?
  4. Many native cultures believe that it is critical for their survival to maintain traditional forms of leadership. What elements are important? How do they benefit the people?

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Contemporary Issues

Fundamental Concepts

  • Sovereignty
  • Gaming
  • Economic Survival

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the responsibilities of governments?
  2. What are the additional responsibilities of tribal governments?
  3. What are the positive and negative impacts of tribal gaming?
  4. Why is it important for the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish to maintain their culture and language?
  5. Why is education an important part of economic survival?

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Timeline

Fundamental Concepts

  • Pictographs
  • Winter Count
  • Oral Tradition
  • Sacred Bundles

Discussion Questions

  1. Historically, how did the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Sahnish record the events of their existence?
  2. How are events recorded in contemporary times?
  3. Compare and contrast plains tribes’ methods of recording history with that of other groups of people.
  4. What is oral tradition and why is it crucial to cultural survival?
  5. What role does oral tradition play in maintaining culture and cultural practices?

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