Section 5: Plains Nomadic People

After a time, other Late Woodland groups moved into North Dakota. The Plains Nomadic people probably came from forests in the east. They did not have permanent homes but traveled in small bands following bison herds. The Plains Nomadic people left traces that show they lived in all parts of North Dakota. They may have been ancestors of the Sioux (soo), or Dakota, Indians. Another Late Woodland group that came from the east may have been ancestors of the Chippewa Indians. The Chippewa continued the lifestyle of the Woodland people.

Evidence has been found that the Woodland and Plains Nomadic people did a lot of trading with other groups. The first metal used by people in this area was copper, probably from Minnesota. It was made into knives, axes, and jewelry. Seashells from both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts were uncovered at archaeological sites in North Dakota, and Knife River flint has been discovered in sites hundreds of miles from where it had been mined in North Dakota.

Archaeological Site

An archaeological site is a place where archaeologists find evidence of people who lived long ago. These people did not record their history on paper, so archaeologists look for other signs of their cultures. Evidence might include stone or bone tools, pottery, burned wood from the hearth (fire place), shell jewelry or tools, or a burial. Archaeologists might find these things on top of or below the ground. Archaeologists are careful to treat the objects respectfully.