The first people in what is now North Dakota were hunters and gatherers who appeared about 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. They had stone weapons and hunted many different animals, but disappeared about 5000 bc. About 2,000 years ago native peoples from the areas of present-day Minnesota and Wisconsin moved to the grasslands in what is now eastern North Dakota. In about ad 1100 the ancestors of the Mandan and Hidatsa peoples migrated to the area of North Dakota. By the end of the 17th century the Mandan, with their allies, the Hidatsa and Arikara, lived a largely sedentary life in earthen lodges clustered in fortified villages. They raised corn, beans, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers, melons, and tobacco and supplemented that diet by hunting and gathering.
They conducted wide-ranging trading expeditions that covered the area between the Rocky Mountains, what is now northern Michigan, and the Gulf of Mexico. The Cheyenne, whom the Ojibwa had driven out of Minnesota in the late 17th century, settled first on the Sheyenne River in what is now North Dakota, living in earth lodges, and farming. The Ojibwa destroyed this settlement about 1770, and the Cheyenne moved into the Black Hills of what is now South Dakota, became dependent on the bison, and adopted a nomadic lifestyle. By the early 19th century in the area of present-day North Dakota, the Yanktonai and Teton Sioux peoples lived in the southeast and southwest, respectively; the Ojibwa lived in the northeast, and the Assiniboine, related to the Yantonai Sioux, lived in the northwest. "North Dakota" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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