Hidatsa hēdät´sä [key], Native North Americans, also known as the Minitari and the Gros Ventre. Their language belongs to the Siouan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). After their separation from the Crow, with whom they were united before the historic period, they occupied several agricultural villages on the upper Missouri River in North Dakota and were in close alliance with the occupants of other villages, the Arikara and the Mandan. The Hidatsa villages, with circular earth lodges, were enclosed by an earthen wall. Among other Hidatsa traits were the cultivation of corn and an annual organized buffalo hunt. They had a complex social organization and elaborate ceremonies, including the sun dance. After the smallpox epidemic of 1837, they moved up the Missouri and established themselves close to the trading post of Fort Berthold. Together with the Arikara and Mandan, many Hidatsa reside on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. There were some 1,500 Hidatsa in the United States in 1990.
See A. W. Bowers, Hidatsa Social and Ceremonial Organization (1965).
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