SHSND Home > Exhibits > Online Exhibits > Lewis & Clark > People Encountered > How Did Tribes Fare in the Wake of the Expedition?

People Encountered - How Did Tribes Fare in the Wake of the Expedition?

blue triangle
smallpox drawing from winter count

In the years between the expedition and the close of the frontier in 1890, tribes who lived in the areas the Corps of Discovery visited fared very badly indeed. Almost immediately after 1806, fur traders representing many concerns went upriver to exploit the rich fur bearing regions Lewis and Clark had described. The result was an increased dependence on Euro-American wares, growing settlement, and the introduction of disease, notably smallpox. Indeed, the Mandan and Hidatsa were hit particularly hard in the late 1830's, resulting in a devastating loss of life. Other long-term results included the eventual introduction of the reservation system and allotment, a paternal government policy that ultimately reduced once self-sufficient peoples to poverty and despair.

612 East Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
Get Directions

State Museum and Store: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
We are closed New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
State Archives: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F, except state holidays; 2nd Sat. of each month, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Appointments are recommended. To schedule an appointment, please contact us at 701.328.2091 or
State Historical Society offices: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. M-F, except state holidays.

Contact Us:
phone: 701.328.2666

Social Media:
See all social media accounts