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Mandan - An important division of the Sioux Indians, who originally lived in the neighborhood of what is now Bismarck, North Dakota.  The artist, Catlin, who spent much time among them, made them famous on canvas and in literature.  Lewis and Clark spent the winter with them in 1804-1805.

The Mandan had among them a type which inherited gray hair, often at an early age.  Since gray hair was unusual among Indians, the tribe was often referred to as being composed of "white Indians."  Some thought their hair was blonde and it was speculated that the Mandan might be descendants of the Welsh believed to have been brought into Canada by King Madoc of Wales - the so called "Lost Welsh Colon."

The Mandan practiced tattooing to a certain extent - the chiefs decorating their arms and breasts with black parallel stripes and a few figures.

The Mandan were rarely in trouble with the whites.  Smallpox was their worst enemy.  In 1837 the disease almost wiped them out, leaving only 31 survivors out of 1,600, according to one report.  These few joined the Hidatsa and have been with them ever since.  Mandan is the name of a city in North Dakota.

Related Information within this Site
[ Arikara ][ Catlin ][ Gros Ventre ][ Lewis ][ Tattooing ]