Karl Bodmer. "Mandan Village," from Prince Maximilian of Wied's Travels to the Interior of North America, 1843-44. The Newberry Library, Chicago.
This view of a Mandan village was executed in 1833, a generation after Lewis and Clark visited the upper Missouri River, but it captures a scene that closely matches the explorers' descriptions.
The Newberry Library, Chicago
Lewis and Clark and the Indian Country: 200 Years of American History
National Traveling Exhibition at the
University of Minnesota Duluth Library
January 4 - February 25, 2010
The story of the Lewis and Clark expedition is well known to most Americans, especially because of the recent bicentennial celebrations, but the Native American perspective on their voyage is not as well known. It is important to understand that although this great journey essentially opened American eyes to the West and encouraged national expansion, it also contributed to a dramatic change in the well-established cultures of the Indian tribes already living in the region.
In 1800, the Native American communities along the path of Lewis and Clark were thriving. Hunting, fishing, farming, and commerce were the foundations for tribal prosperity. Indians provided vital assistance to the explorers--the Voyage of Discovery most likely would not have been the success it was without their aid. But by 1900, Native Americans found it almost impossible to maintain their traditional lifeways. Mining, homesteading, ranching, and the fur trade had all undermined the centuries-old traditions of the Indian country. Smallpox decimated tribes and "Americanization" campaigns sought to suppress all aspects of traditional culture.
This paneled exhibition tells the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition from a different point of view --that of the Indians who lived along their route. During their journey to the Pacific coast and back, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their small group of voyagers crossed the traditional homelands of more than 50 native American tribes. The exhibit examines this monumental encounter of cultures and examines the past and present effects of that encounter on the lives of the tribes which still live in the region.
The University of Minnesota Duluth Library has been selected as one of 27 sites for this six-year national traveling exhibition. The national tour started in October 2007 and runs through April 2012. The UMD Library will host the exhibition from January 4, 2010 - February 25, 2010.
The exhibition is free and open to the public. For information about visiting the exhibition, locating the UMD Library, or arranging a group tour, please see the Visit tab above.
The exhibition, located on the fourth floor of the UMD Library, occupies 1,000 square feet of space. It consists of six sections which are comprised of 10 panels each. Each panel contains reproductions of rare historical documents, photographs, and illustrative materials.
The sections of the traveling exhibition focus on:
- Lewis and Clark and the Indian Country: 200 Years of American History
- The Indian Country 1800: A Brilliant Plan for Living
- Crossing the Indian Country, 1804-1806
- Crossing the Indian Country, 1804-1806, the Expedition Timeline
- A New Nation Comes to the Indian Country
- The Indian Country Today
Sponsors for this exhibit: Lewis & Clark and the Indian
Country: Two Hundred Years of American History was organized by the
Newberry Library, Chicago, in partnership with the American Library
Association. The traveling exhibition is supported by a grant from the
National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life.
Other major funding has come from the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign. The Sara Lee Foundation is the lead corporate sponsor;
Ruth C. Ruggles, the National Park Service, the Kansas Humanities Council,
and the Wichita State University Libraries provided additional support. Additional information about our sponsors.