By Elizabeth A. Fenn
Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for History
Encounters on the center of the World matters the Mandan Indians, iconic Plains humans whose teeming, busy cities at the top Missouri River have been for hundreds of years on the heart of the North American universe. we all know of them usually simply because Lewis and Clark spent the wintry weather of 1804-1805 with them, yet why do not we all know extra? Who have been they honestly? during this outstanding ebook, Elizabeth A. Fenn retrieves their historical past by way of piecing jointly vital new discoveries in archaeology, anthropology, geology, climatology, epidemiology, and dietary technology. Her boldly unique interpretation of those different study findings deals us a brand new viewpoint on early American heritage, a brand new interpretation of the yank past.
through 1500, greater than twelve thousand Mandans have been verified at the northern Plains, and their advertisement prowess, agricultural talents, and acceptance for hospitality grew to become well-known. fresh archaeological discoveries convey how those local American humans thrived, after which how they collapsed. the wear wrought through imported illnesses like smallpox and the havoc attributable to the arriving of horses and steamboats have been tragic for the Mandans, but, as Fenn makes transparent, their feel of themselves as a individuals with targeted traditions endured.
A riveting account of Mandan background, landscapes, and folks, Fenn's narrative is enriched and enlivened not just by way of technological know-how and examine yet via her personal encounters on the center of the world.
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Extra info for Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People
Forty seven determine five. 10. Eagle nostril Butte (also known as chook invoice Butte) considered from the north alongside North Dakota street 1806. This was once one of many websites the place Lone guy initiated Mandans into using the sacred shrine and the Okipa rite. It additionally turned a well-liked place for splinter teams and earned the identify Village of these Who Quarrel. to save lots of themselves, the folks break up up. The Awigaxa Mandans went west to the mountains. Others stopped beside the Missouri at Eagle nostril Butte, developing a village on flooring so excessive that they was hoping the waters couldn't achieve it. a few say it used to be reliable Furred Robe—the hero who had led the Mandans out of the earth years before—who equipped this payment. forty eight while the flood got here, the folk cried out to Lone guy for support. He outfitted a plank corral round the city to carry again the deluge. A band of supple willow branches certain the constitution jointly, a lot as a ring binds the staves of a barrel. The water crested on the top of the willows, and the city used to be stored. forty nine Later, the flat-timbered barricade that had miraculously resisted the waters was once re-created as a sacred shrine within the ceremonial plaza of each Mandan village. the hoop of planks represented the corral, and the cedar put up within it stood for Lone guy himself. while he gave this stuff to the villagers, he instructed them, “This cedar and corral is my protector. From this time on, you'll always have it. ”50 the cost of defense used to be accountability. The shrine required the yearly functionality of the Okipa, the lengthy, high priced, and tough ceremony during which the contributors continued nice discomfort and reenacted their very own background. The Mandans deemed the trade-off worthy. The Okipa supplied greater than defense. It strengthened tribal id. It instilled an ethos of selflessness. And it introduced harmony, self-assurance, and order to the area. considered one of Alfred Bowers’s informants defined the final impression: “After the Okipa rite was once given, the folk have been very lucky … No undesirable good fortune got here to them till the smallpox used to be introduced via the white males. ”51 The continues to be of the village atop Eagle nostril Bluff nonetheless live to tell the tale. After its founders left, the positioning supplied shelter for splinter teams whilst disputes arose and have become often called the “Village of these Who Quarrel. ”52 puppy DEN BUTTE The special glacial hillock known as puppy Den Butte is one other position choked with that means from the Mandan previous. It sits excessive above the flatlands, jutting out from the Missouri Coteau approximately seventy miles north of the center of the area. It has served as a traveler’s landmark for hundreds of years if now not millennia. The hill obtained its identify after a lady had sex with a puppy and gave start to 9 little boy puppies. After a hurricane separated them, the youngest boy led her to their den. The hill has borne the identify puppy Den ever considering. Like a number of the buttes in Mandan kingdom, it used to be domestic to an array of non secular beings. fifty three between those that made their houses at puppy Den Butte was once Speckled Eagle. At one time, Speckled Eagle was once the recipient of many presents from the Mandans.