First Arrivals (11,000 B.C.–5,500 B.C.)

A bison skeleton stands on a green platform

At least 13,000 years ago, the retreat of glacial ice allowed small groups of hunter-gatherers to enter what is now known as North Dakota. Following herds of large game, these groups moved frequently and developed a distinct stone tool technology. Demonstrating astonishing craftsmanship and skill, their fluted points are found across North America. 

See what these first arrivals hunted and examine the tools they used:

  • A skeleton of a Bison antiquus
  • A wall-sized mural of a bison kill and butchering site dating to 12,000 years ago
  • The exquisite stone tools from some of the earliest known occupations in North Dakota 
  • A wall-sized mural of Early Peoples mining Knife River flint
  • A video of an archaeologist demonstrating flintknapping, the process of striking and shaping stones into different types of tools