Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples

Man's moccasins, Dakota

The Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples, devoted to the Native peoples of North Dakota, highlights the beauty and breadth of the State Museum’s collections. Encounter the tribes of North Dakota, both as they were before contact with European-Americans and also as the sovereign nations they are today. 

The story of the Early Peoples begins more than 13,000 years ago when people first began to migrate into North Dakota. This journey through time begins with the Paleoindians, the first hunters. See the Bison antiquus skeleton, an example of the mammals these big-game hunters killed using spears and creative hunting practices. View the exquisite workmanship in their stone tool technology.

Learn about hallmarks of human innovation during this time, including the invention of the bow and arrow and creation of clay pottery. Envision North Dakota’s earliest cities. Look inside a tipi and imagine it as your home. Experience the way of life of plains village farmers. Learn how the introduction of guns and horses impacted tribes, creating great hunters and powerful warriors.

Examine the beauty and workmanship of the State Museum’s outstanding textile collections. Displays of dresses, pants, moccasins, shirts, saddlebags, and more will allow you to view first-hand the various materials and develop an appreciation of the artistry behind the quillwork and beadwork.