Native American Connection
Lewis and Clark encountered 57 Native American Tribes while on the expedition from 1804-1806. A few tribes were hostile when they felt the white men were invading territory that rightfully belonged to them, but most were friendly and helpful. Without their help it is very doubtful that the expedition would have been successful. They showed the members of the expedition their methods of hunting and fishing, they cured medical ailments with extracts from local plants and animals, they served as guides, especially through the mountains, they supplied them with horses for their trek over the mountains and they helped them through the extremely cold winter that they spent in Fort Mandan. In these ways Native Americans were significantly responsible for the success of the expedition. The contributions of the Native Americans are noted in many of the Center’s displays, designated by an eagle’s feather. The assistance of tribal members from the Otoe, Mandan, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Clatsop and Chinook tribes need to be especially recognized and commended.